Our pharma & healthcare donors helping #ChangetheBirthStory in Haiti

Representatives of donor companies to SHOW project with Plan International Canada
Photo credit: Lee Currie
Representatives of donor companies to SHOW project with Plan International Canada Photo credit: Lee Currie

Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Americas.

To do something about this unacceptable situation for women and girls, Plan International Canada developed a project called SHOW (Strengthening Health Outcomes for Women and Children). SHOW is a multi-year multi-country project to #ChangetheBirthStory in Haiti, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.

Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) is a partner in the Haiti component of the project funded by Global Affairs Canada. HPIC’s  first airlift of medicines and supplies requested by Plan International Haiti is scheduled for later this month.

On June 15, representatives from the pharmaceutical and healthcare companies that  filled the skids came to HPIC’s distribution centre in Oakville to learn more about how they are helping to #ChangetheBirthStory and to see the skids packed and ready for pick up.

Giving birth a major cause of death

“In Haiti, especially in the north east province, pregnancy and childbirth are a major cause of death for women and girls,” said Plan International Canada’s Tahina Rabezanahary, Senior Program Manager, MNCH. “61 per cent of women in the North-East of Haiti deliver their babies at home and only 32 per cent receive crucial post-natal care within two days of delivery. Women in Haiti have a 1 in 80 chance of dying due to pregnancy or childbirth.”

“I am a mother and I have my own birth story,” said Tahina. “If I was a mother in my home country, Madagascar, I wouldn’t have survived. My story would have been different. When I visited Haiti, a country similar to my home country, I saw poverty, teen pregnancy, limited health infrastructure, lack of services…

“I am forever grateful to people like you and organizations like yours. You give generously so girls and women don’t need to travel to Canada to #ChangetheBirthStory.

100,000 women and partners will be reached

“With your kind and generous support, Plan International Canada is implementing this project that is improving access to health care. …More than 100,000 women and their partners, adolescent girls and children will be able to access medications they need. Together we can change the birth story.”

HPIC’s Director of Product Planning Linda Campbell also thanked the donors and told those gathered what was on those life-saving and changing skids: antibiotics, anesthetics, antifungals, anti-hypertensives, diuretics, anti-malarials, medicines for reflux and pain relief.

“Over and over we hear from our partners in the field that ‘when your medicines from Canada arrive, people start feeling better, they begin healing.’…We are eternally grateful to the pharmaceutical and healthcare companies in Canada who make this relief possible. This project will contribute to saving lives now and will make a lasting impact over the years. Saving the life of a mother gives hope to her community.”

Commitment of Canadian pharma and healthcare companies

The donor companies that are changing the birth story by contributing to this first shipment for SHOW Haiti are: AstraZeneca Canada, BD, Fresenius-Kabi, Henry Schein, Johnson & Johnson Inc., Pfizer Canada Inc., Pharmascience Inc., Teligent, and Teva Canada Limited.

Denis St-Amour, HPIC’s President, closed by thanking the 9 companies that donated to the SHOW project and the industry associations: the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Consumer Health Products Canada, and Innovative Medicines Canada.

“When I was in Malawi last year, I was told that when our medicines arrived, 750 people ran to the clinic to see if they could get treated- this work is thanks to you. This is our opportunity to thank you. Thank you.”