The maternity ward at St. Therese Hospital in Hinche. Photo Credit: Michael Matza

By Michael Matza

On the front lines with Midwives for Haiti

HINCHE, Haiti _ Rain pummeled the ragged dirt highway outside the walled compound of Midwives for Haiti.

Inside the non-profit’s headquarters, a handful of staffers and volunteers on a medical mission from Florida thought they were in for the night after a long day providing care.

That’s when MFH education director Cindy Siegel’s cell phone rang. It was clinical director Perrine Stock, calling from the rundown public hospital a mile away where women deliver on bare gurneys unless they bring bed sheets, buckets are their only toilets, electricity is sporadic, and the maternity ward lacks running water.

A day earlier, a 26-year-old with soaring blood pressure gave birth to a very premature baby that died in delivery. A few hours later the woman suffered a seizure associated with eclampsia _ a major killer of women in Haiti. As her grieving relatives stood vigil outside the ward, her condition worsened.


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