At any hour of day or night, head nurse-midwife Ms. Rose Manelle Toussaint is likely to be found in the delivery room working tirelessly to help pregnant women bring new life into the world. Many of the Fond-des-Blancs children born since 2012—the year Ms. Toussaint began working for St. Boniface Hospital - spent the first breaths of their lives in her arms before she gently returned them to the care of their mothers. Between these warm moments, she spends sleepless on-call hours trekking back and forth between the nurse’s residence and her post in the delivery room. Yet, even at the end of a demanding shift, she is quick to smile and acknowledge that she loves her work.
“I grew up in Okap (Cap Haitian) and have always enjoyed caring for people,” Ms. Toussaint explains. This passion led her to graduate from nurse-midwifery school in Port-au-Prince before assuming her position at St. Boniface Hospital. “I love being the one to tell women that they are pregnant and then have the chance to help them create new life – it is a beautiful thing.” Ms. Toussaint enjoys being alongside pregnant women from the beginning of their journey. She does prenatal consultations and is often the one to deliver the baby. As the head nurse-midwife, Ms. Toussaint is also in charge of the nurse-midwife team and coordinates with the gynecology and neonatology departments to provide quality continuous care throughout the pregnancy and birthing process.
Ms. Toussaint recently helped lead the transition into the new Maternal and Neonatal Health Center (MNH). “The old facility was too small and didn’t have enough beds. As our number of patients increased, more and more women had to go through much of their labor on the benches outside of the delivery room,” she recalls. “Women have always told me that they think we provide good care,” she continues, “but now we have a nice new facility that allows us to give even better care than before.” With 6 antepartum, 6 postpartum, and 5 delivery beds, Ms. Toussaint and the maternal health staff have a much-improved capacity to provide a safe and enjoyable birthing experience for their patients.
For Ms. Toussaint, the MNH center means that more women will deliver at St. Boniface Hospital surrounded by the most advanced medical care available in the region. “People are more willing to visit our new center,” she remarks. “In fact, I am doing more prenatal consultations and deliveries than before the MNH center opened last month. We usually have 80-90 births per month, but we have already had 50 at the halfway point this month.” Though it means more long hours and late-night deliveries, Ms. Toussaint can’t help but smile as she turns back to her work in the delivery room, knowing that she will have the opportunity to help more women deliver safely.