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Helping Haiti's Moms and Babies: Direct Relief International Launches Massive Maternal and Child Health Program to Improve Care for 60,000 Expectant Women


SANTA BARBARA, Calif., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Direct Relief International has launched a major effort in Haiti to reduce maternal mortality and improve the health of mothers and their babies.   Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere.  Over the next three years, Direct Relief will provide medical equipment and supplies to boost the capacity of eight hospitals throughout Haiti, including the most rural and underserved areas of the country.  This effort will ensure that an estimated 60,000 pregnant women will receive quality medical care and have safe deliveries.  

Two years after the earthquake that took a quarter of a million lives and left millions more injured and homeless, Direct Relief is among the largest providers of medical material aid to Haiti.  In addition to these eight hospitals, Direct Relief now supports over 115 health facilities throughout the country with the essential medical resources to care for the country's most vulnerable people. (See interactive map of Direct Relief's work in Haiti here:

"Direct Relief is committed to helping women in Haiti have safe pregnancies and deliveries. The upgraded medical equipment and supplies that these eight health centers are receiving will ensure that the skilled health providers have the tools they need, particularly for high-risk pregnancies and deliveries," said Andrew MacCalla, Direct Relief's Emergency Response Manager.

The campaign was launched today in Haiti at Direct Relief's warehouse in Port-au-Prince, where the organization welcomed administrators from the eight sites across the country that will be supported in the initiative.  The warehouse is now stocked with essential medical materials that will be transported to the hospitals: exam and operating room tables, sterilizers, diagnostic instruments, baby monitors, scales, IV stands, exam lights, ventilators, ultrasounds, and medications.  Direct Relief, which manages the world's largest nonprofit program of free HIV tests for pregnant women, has committed to also providing 10,000 rapid HIV tests, ensuring all pregnant women get tested for HIV during their prenatal care visits.  In addition to the medications and medical equipment, Direct Relief is supplying hundreds of incentive kits to expectant moms, designed as a tool to encourage the women to attend their prenatal visits and to ensure that women deliver at a health facility.

About Direct Relief International

Direct Relief International is a leading medical relief organization, active in all 50 U.S. states and 70 countries. It works with more than 1,000 health clinics across the U.S. to assist in emergencies and an ongoing basis, providing them with free medications for people in need. Direct Relief is among the largest medical suppliers to Haiti in response to the 2010 earthquake, has top charity ratings, including four-star and "top notch" rating from Charity Navigator, and a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine.

CONTACT: Kerri Murray, Communications, Cell (805) 452-7599,

SOURCE  Direct Relief International

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Information in this article was accurate in April 25, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.