Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Haiti and Having Babies

The maternal mortality rate in Haiti is the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The maternal mortality rate is 523/100,000 women. What this means is that during pregnancy or within six weeks of delivery, 523 of every 100,000 women who have babies die in Haiti. The maternal mortality rate in the United States is 7/100,000. Black women in the United States have a maternal mortality rate of about 20/100,000.

The excess deaths are due to poverty, structural violence, and fear of being shot. With these three factors discouraging care, Haitian women do not receive adequate prenatal or perinatal care and die from complications of delivery such as bleeding and infection, and eclampsia.

Doctors can help with bleeding, infection, and eclampsia but need to do much more in preventing these complications by addressing the real issues that allow these medical complications to kill their patients. That is the frightening part for physicians around the world and the part we never learned in medical school or residency.


regalo1225 said...

Dear Dr. Carroll,

After discovering that you keep a blog through one of your Haiti Analysis articles, I have been following this. My name is Brennan, and I'm a sophomore biology / pre-med major at Notre Dame. My introduction to Haiti came from reading Dr. Farmer's books earlier this year, but now I try to follow as much as possible online--from people like you who work to give voice to the voiceless. Thank you for being a model of solidarity for me. I very much hope to join the Haitian people in solidarity as soon as possible.

I'll keep your Haitian patients in my thoughts and prayers.


John A. Carroll, M.D. said...

Dear Brennan,

Keep up your good work at Notre Dame. It will all be worthwhile and I am sure you will join the Haitian people in solidarity in a few years.

Thanks for the prayers too.