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Jhpiego Helps Reopen, Restock Maternity Ward in Haiti

January 28, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Melody McCoy
410-537-1829 or mmccoy@jhpiego.net
Cell: 410-868-9399

A health care team from Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins affiliate working on maternal and child health globally, is on the ground in Haiti, working to restore safe and quality health care services for pregnant women, new mothers and their babies.

Since three health care workers from the organization’s Baltimore office joined their Haitian colleagues in Port-au-Prince a week ago, the team has provided organizational support to reopen the maternity ward at the General Hospital, the largest hospital in the capital, and helped replenish medical supplies for the ward. Their work has been chronicled in the blog, On the Ground in Haiti, at http://blog.jhpiego.org/

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that there are 63,000 pregnant women in the earthquake-affected areas and 15 percent are likely to have potentially life-threatening complications. An estimated 7,000 are expected to deliver in the next month, according to the agency.

Jhpiego is providing “return-to-work” support for Haitian medical staff so the maternity ward can operate with a complement of doctors, nurses, and midwives trained in obstetrics care. Until now, pregnant women brought to General Hospital were delivering their babies in tents on the hospital grounds and a small contingent of overworked nurses and birth attendants were providing care.

Reopening the maternity ward at General Hospital would put three operating rooms in service and reduce the risk of infection, which is difficult to manage in tents.

The administrators of General Hospital said Jhpiego’s long experience in Haiti was “critical to their commitment to work side by side in renewing the maternity ward,” said Dr. Lucito Jeannis, Jhpiego’s country director in Haiti.

Haiti had the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere before the earthquake hit – 670 deaths per 100,000 live births.  That ratio is likely to increase unless a network of trained health workers can care for pregnant women, mothers and babies in a safe and sanitary environment.

Jhpiego staff members, including three ob/gyns, a nurse and other health care professionals, are working from the organization’s office in Port-au-Prince and are available for interviews.  We can connect your reporters who are in country with our team or arrange telephone interviews.

Since its founding, Jhpiego, based in Baltimore and affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University, has empowered front-line health workers by designing and implementing effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for women and their families.

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