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MSF in Haiti, 2002
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Improving maternal and reproductive care
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has the worst health indicators in the region. There is low vaccination coverage, malnutrition and lack of access to water and sanitation services; people suffer from high rates of respiratory infections, diarrhea and other communicable diseases. Since 1996, MSF has assisted in the implementation of Community Health Units (CHUs), a health care structure introduced as part of the decentralization of the country's health care system begun in 1996. Given Haiti's high maternal mortality rate, a key focus of MSF's work is maternal and reproductive care.
MSF helped launch the CHU covering the communes of Saint-Marc, Desdunes and Grande Saline, which includes a hospital and 18 health centers and covers 200,000 people. Key goals include improving management of the CHU, increasing the level of maternal care at all levels, and ensuring emergency surgery. At Saint Nicolas Hospital in Saint-Marc, MSF trains medical staff in basic surgery and anaesthesia techniques for high-risk births.
Since 2001, MSF has worked in the CHU of Verrettes, which covers the communes of Petite Rivière, Verettes and Deschapelles. Again, in the hope of reducing the maternal mortality rate, MSF tries to improve the quality of care and the management and facilities of a health center and two dispensaries in Petite Rivière, where some 2,900 people seek medical care each month.
MSF has been working in Haiti since 1992.