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Ground Cockroaches? Delivering safe babies in Haiti

by Emily Crowe | Jul 08, 2015

Imagine you’re nine months pregnant. Now imagine you’re living in rural Haiti, hours from the nearest hospital with no reliable means of transportation. Suddenly, your water breaks. How would you feel?

Not long ago, Benita Dorcé found herself in this exact situation.

For women in rural communities across the world, pregnancy is an especially vulnerable time. Without the help of a well-trained birth attendant, infections and disasters are commonplace.


Benita and her child, safely delivered, thanks to your care.

In Haiti, only 24% of births are attended by a skilled birth attendant. In the US, this figure is 99%. Newborn babies are more likely to die in Haiti than in any other country in the Western Hemisphere. (UNICEF 2009)

What’s one of the deadliest killers of newborn babies in Haiti? Tetanus.

Many untrained attendants don’t know the importance of using sterilized tools or gloves. This puts people like Benita and her baby at great risk. A common practice in rural Haiti, many babies are born on the dirt, umbilical cords cut with non-sterile tools, and ground cockroaches applied to the severed skin.

Without a skilled attendant, Benita and her baby would have been treated the same way.

Thankfully, your donations and support are at work in Haiti. Our Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) classes teach safe delivery practices to local birth attendants. Rural attendants travel for miles from their homes to take classes—bringing expert-level skills to even the most remote communities.

When Benita’s water broke miles from the nearest health clinic, our TBA was there to help her. Before training, the attendant would have followed unsafe practices and unknowingly exposed Benita and her baby to serious danger.

Now, women like Benita can truly feel—and be—safer.

Instead of cockroaches, Benita and her baby received quality delivery care. We are so grateful that we could be part of this amazing moment—thanks to you, this mother and child are safe and healthy.

TBA gradutation haiti

Class training of Traditional Birth Attendants in Haiti.