Leadership, Management & Sustainability Project in Haiti: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}Marie Claude Joseph updating commodity management records at the Santé Lumière Health Center in Haiti.Photo credit: MSH staff.

In Haiti, only 31 percent of married women use modern family planning methods. According to the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey (known as the DHS), 52 percent of births in the country are wanted; 21 percent are unwanted; and 27 percent of pregnancies occur sooner than desired. Despite the evident need for family planning services, many facilities in Haiti, including the Santé Lumière Health Center in the Cayes district, have not been able to provide them.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}Nurse Odila Jeune Gens is responsible for family planning services at the Dity health center.Photo credit: MSH staff.

Located in the remote highlands of Haiti’s northwest region of Port-de-Paix, the Dity health center has not always been able to provide adequate family planning services to women in the 21 surrounding communities, despite the obvious need. Maternal and infant mortality is high in the region due to the high number of births, short intervals between pregnancies, and the lack of skilled birth attendants.

{Photo credit: Rachel Hassinger/MSH}Photo credit: Rachel Hassinger/MSH

MSH spoke with Sandra Guerrier, Ph, MSc, project director for the USAID-funded Leadership, Management & Sustainability Project in Haiti (LMS Haiti)—one of four MSH projects in the country. Tell us about LMS and MSH’s presence in Haiti.

 {Photo credit: MSH}Pastor Chery (at left) congratulates a youth on completing the education sessions.Photo credit: MSH

In Haiti, the vast majority of taboos related to sexual and reproductive health come from the religious sector. Religious leaders' moral, social, and spiritual influence has often been a barrier for young people seeking information on reproductive health. Religious leaders have feared, sometimes rightly, that this information was contrary to their principles. This has left many young people vulnerable to the problems of teen pregnancy. Pastor Sadrac Chery, adviser to Haiti's Protestant Network of Churches, noted that the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in his community was worrisome.

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Despite the many challenges of working in Haiti following the January 12 earthquake, MSH’s Leadership, Management, and Sustainability (LMS) program distributed more than 1 million family planning commodities in the month following the disaster. This included over 1.2 million condoms; 44,000 oral contraceptives; 33,200 injectable methods; and 100 implants. During the distribution, LMS carried out site evaluations throughout the country to ensure that it was still possible to manage the products according to established standards for US Government-supported health sites.

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