In post-earthquake Haiti, rebuilding lives and welcoming new ones – Haiti

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L’ASILE, Nippes department, Haiti – On the grounds of the Asile Community Reference Hospital in the southwest, Désir Murielle rests in a tent a few steps from pieces of twisted and cracked metal that was once maternity hospital with her newborn son. “He was born this morning, and his name is Yves,” said Ms. Murielle.

Baby Yves would have been born in this now collapsed room had it not been for the magnitude 7.2 earthquake of August 14 that killed more than 2,200 people, injured more than 12,000 and destroyed essential infrastructure, including hospitals, roads and bridges.

“There were two women lying in the post-partum maternity ward when the building collapsed,” recalls Eludernme Déenius, head nurse and midwife. “You can still see the beds crushed under the concrete. Very luckily they felt the shake and escaped.”

Aid to hospitals

The Asylum Community Referral Hospital is one of 18 damaged or destroyed health facilities receiving support from UNFPA to continue providing reproductive health services in the area most affected by the disaster. Next month, with the support of the Ministry of Health, UNFPA will deploy a true mobile emergency obstetric and neonatal care (SONU) service. unity to manage childbirth and obstetric complications.

In the first two months after the earthquake, UNFPA supported some 1,540 deliveries in health centers and hospitals. UNFPA estimates that more than 72,000 pregnant women would be affected, and of the 15,000 pregnant women who will give birth in the next three months, 2,250 will suffer from obstetric complications that will require care such as cesarean sections. Of the 30 midwives deployed by UNFPA, 60% are in departments affected by the earthquake.

On the morning of the birth of Yves and a baby girl, another took place during the recent visit of UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Diene Keita. “It was touching that this baby was born inside this hospital which was razed to the ground by the earthquake,” Ms. Keita said, adding that it was the efforts of several UN agencies – UNICEF, OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and WFP’s Humanitarian Air Service (World Food Program), UNHAS – which contributed to the “miracle of the birth of this baby”.

Reconstruction and recovery

As the humanitarian response to the earthquake continues, attention turns to the longer-term reconstruction of not only this hospital, but also other damaged and destroyed homes and infrastructure and how communities can recover from it. this crisis.

In December, the Haitian government is organizing an international conference to raise part of the $ 2 billion estimated necessary for the reconstruction and recovery effort.

The fight against gender-based violence is part of this recovery effort. “Women and girls are more vulnerable after an earthquake because they no longer live at home but alongside strangers, and they do not have access to toilets,” said Taina Camy, who works on human rights issues. gender-based violence at UNFPA. “More than two months after the earthquake, we are able to provide more services to women and girls in need, especially at the local level.

Back in the maternity tent at L’Asile, Ms. Murielle and other mothers welcome another arrival. And someday, in the not-so-distant future, the hospital itself will experience new life.


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