Dr. Vladimir Larsen, President of the Haitian Society of Gynecology Obstetrics (SHOG) returned to the figures for the health of women in Haiti. The national fertility rate is 3.5 nationally, with one important difference between rural (4.4) and urban. Stating that the coverage for family planning, concerns only 31% of women of childbearing age.
Stressing that 90% of women receive medical care during pregnancy, 62% of them still give birth at home. Moreover he recalled the serious complications related to abortions [3rd cause of maternal mortality in Haiti] clandestine (infections, infertility, anemia, hemorrhage, mortality) and evoked with seriousness the work of health professionals to arrive to keep alive the patients came to the hospital following an abortion that went wrong.
Concerning early pregnancy, the President of the SHOG has noted the consequences for health and social and economic lives of young women not to mention the often painful impact for young fathers and children, calling for better information and availability for family planning.
The gynecologist Grand-Pierre Reynolds, Director of the Family Health Directorate of the Ministry of Public Health has provided an update on what has been achieved in terms of access to reproductive health services and what remains to be done. Explaining that although Haiti has begun its demographic transition, significant progress remains to be made. Thus, one women out of seven between 15 and 19 years has already given birth and family planning coverage does not cover the needs.
In addition, he noted that in surveys, Haitian women say they would like to have only two children, while the national index is 3.5 children per woman [at the regional level, Cuba has an index of Fertility 1.8 and Jamaica 1.9]. The question of the availability of services is essential, however, he explained that the Ministry of Health, was facing budget problems, weak organization of the referral system, a sometimes scattered and landlocked population and insufficient professionals [1 doctor per 8,000 inhabitants]. Among the responses to address the problems of access to family planning, include the information, the management of sexual violence, but also respect for patient choice and acquisition of rights to abortion. Stressing that while progress has been made in recent decades, important challenges remain for accessibility to family planning services.