Empowering Women to Determine their Future
In Haiti, there’s a popular saying in Creole: “Timoun se richès”, which means “Children are riches”. In rural communities like the ones where Project Medishare works in the Central Plateau, the average family has upwards of four children. For many of these families, children are viewed as a way to achieve financial security. With high infant mortality rates and extreme poverty prevalent in rural areas, some families believe that the more children they have, the better the odds that at least one will survive and be successful enough to care for the whole family.
As part of our maternal health program, Project Medishare empowers women to make better, more informed sexual and reproductive health decisions. This includes educating them on the risks of having multiple children, providing access to services to facilitate a safe pregnancy and delivery, and promoting awareness of and access to family planning.
Family planning allows women and their partners to plan the number and spacing of their children. Through partnerships with organizations like the Ministry of Health, and most recently, PROFAMIL, women (and men) in our communities have consistent, free access to a variety of contraceptive methods. Last year, roughly 1,270 men and women became users of these services. The most preferred contraceptive method among women is the birth control shot, though there has been increased interest in a more permanent option – tubal ligation.
The Ministry of Health developed a six member mobile team, which includes our own Head Nurse Midwife, Josette Napolean, to travel throughout the Central Plateau performing tubal ligations. The team recently performed its first round of tubal ligations at Project Medishare’s maternity center in Marmont, where 21 pre-screened women underwent the outpatient procedure. One of those women was Mimose.
Mimose, 37, gave birth to her eighth child in December. She learned about the tubal ligation surgery during a post-natal check-up and family planning consultation at our maternity center. She decided to sign-up for the procedure to ensure she didn’t have more children. The morning of her surgery, Mimose walked two hours from her home in Savanne Moïse to the maternity center. After confirming her consent to have a tubal ligation, she received a local anesthetic, and 30 minutes later the procedure was complete.
Empowering women like Mimose with the resources and freedom to make informed decisions about their reproductive health helps build healthier families and communities. If you’d like to support Project Medishare’s family planning efforts and give a woman the chance to determine her own future, please make a donation today.