Jeanise, a 38-year-old mother, lives in Bahot in Haiti’s South-East department. Like many women in Haiti, she works as a trader and is active in her community while also shouldering most of the responsibility for raising her children.
In early 2023 she brought her two children to a local rally post for vaccinations and malnutrition screenings. The community health worker there, Mr. Bens, asked Jeanise about her own health. Jeanise was in the first trimester of pregnancy, so Mr. Bens referred her to the nearest clinic for prenatal care. Even though she had never visited a health facility during her previous pregnancies and the Bahot clinic is three hours by foot from her home, Jeanise followed Mr. Bens’ advice and went for her first prenatal visit 12 weeks into her pregnancy.
At that appointment, community nurse Miss Marie Claude invited Jeanise to join the Bahot pregnancy club, a group that provides support and health education to expectant mothers. Jeanise was reluctant to join at first but decided to attend a meeting when she came for her next month’s checkup. From then on, she kept coming back. By the time she was nearing her due date, Jeanise had completed five prenatal visits, set up a delivery plan with the clinic, and participated in a cooking demonstration focused on highly nutritious yet affordable foods.
One evening, after a long day at the public market, Jeanise experienced a severe headache. She drank a traditional herbal tea, but her headache did not go away. The following morning she remembered what the support group had taught her about danger signs during pregnancy. “This is a danger sign. Please take me to the clinic,” she told her family.