The following post begins our March 2007 newsletter.
Greetings from Gatineau, Haiti
A young Haitian man from a village near Gatineau was cut with a machete while working in his fields a few weeks ago. The next day he began having spasms in his muscles and by the following day he was dead. The cause of death was known to all the local villagers: tetanus. Had there been a clinic nearby with anti-tetanus toxoid and vaccine, he would not have died. In a village not far from this young man’s was a 23 year old woman, pregnant with her second child. She had had no problems during the entire 9 months of her pregnancy and she and her husband were only waiting for her to go into labor. Around midnight on a night in December, she began bleeding. Her husband gathered his neighbors and they took her to the nearby clinic, waking up the nurse who was there. She started an IV, but there was nothing she could do to stop the bleeding. It took until noon for them to get her down to the hospital in Jeremie and just after getting there, she and her unborn infant died. Was the cause of death placenta previa or lack of access to emergency obstetric care?