Each and every day, Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) helps to improve maternal and child survival rates in Haiti, which are among the lowest in the world. We and our patients are truly grateful for your strong support of our crucial, lifesaving work!
Healthy mothers lead to healthier babies, children, and families. At HAS Haiti, pediatric healthcare and maternal healthcare are closely related, and maternal and child health services account for nearly 60% of all services provided by HAS. From Cesarean sections for high-risk deliveries in the hospital, to community-based education about various topics including breastfeeding, nutrition, and prenatal warning signs, HAS aims to meet the needs of mothers and children in the Lower Artibonite Valley of Haiti, and is constantly adapting to the changing public health situation through a wide variety of health services. HAS provides extensive education for patients about reproductive health, encourages and ensures skilled antenatal care for women, and works with mothers and children intensively until a child’s fifth birthday to keep mothers and children on the road to health and well-being.
The hospital specializes in treating serious and complicated illnesses, saving thousands of lives per year with medication and surgeries. In 2013, women came to HAS’s maternity ward with more complicated cases of conditions such as preeclampsia, placenta previa (a major cause of antepartum hemorrhage), and peripartum cardiomyopathy (weakened heart function surrounding pregnancy), and stayed longer to ensure full recovery from high-risk deliveries. In 2013, there were 1,021 deliveries at HAS, an 11.7% increase over 2012’s 914 births. Of these, 329 (34%) of hospital deliveries were via Cesarian section due to the high-risk nature of these pregnancies.
Babies and children also represent a significant portion of the hospital patient base. Over half of the available beds are reserved for the various pediatrics wards (pediatric surgery, general pediatrics, nutritional rehabilitation, pediatric isolation, and neonatal intensive care). Additionally, the general pediatrics clinic and the pediatric surgery clinic combined make pediatrics the second busiest hospital outpatient clinic division, behind internal medicine. In 2013, children represented 33% of all admissions, but nearly 50% of total patient days, indicating that their cases are often complex and require them to stay in the hospital for a considerable time. The children who are admitted to the hospital for care often suffer from serious, even life-threatening health conditions, including severe, acute malnutrition, infectious illnesses such as diarrheal diseases and upper respiratory infections, and injuries or conditions that require surgery and rehabilitation. Overall, 2013 saw considerable increases in pediatric surgery and neonatal intensive care admissions.
Much of the work done in community services is preventive; by screening children for malnutrition and administering all required vaccines to children under five years, for instance, our staff saves lives by stopping potentially fatal illnesses before they even start. Community health centers and mobile clinics are a fundamental part of the integrated community services network. HAS runs four community health centers (two in valley sections, two in mountain sections) and an average of 76 mobile clinics per month throughout the service area. Both of these provide primary and preventive care services, including those specific to maternal health like pre- and postnatal consultations and family planning and reproductive health. They are located even in the most remote corners of the service area to ensure that quality health care is accessible to our patients, who may live up to 8 hours’ walking distance from the main hospital. Community health workers play an important role by encouraging women in their communities to attend regular prenatal exams at the nearest community health center or mobile clinic, teaching them about important themes and warning signs during pregnancy and motherhood, and conducting post-natal home visits. Community health workers and health center staff give hundreds of education sessions per month at health posts and health centers.
Community health centers, mobile clinics, and community health worker activities emphasize child health in various ways. Pediatric primary care consultations in community health centers and mobile clinics are high volume, and preventive health activities, particularly for children under 5 years old, dominate child health activities in the community. From nutrition screenings to immunizations to distribution of vitamins and deworming medication, most activities are targeted to reduce child mortality, particularly in the “first 1,000 days” from conception to age 2. During these years, the most vulnerable as well as most important, proper nutrition and health during this time can profoundly impact a child’s ability to grow, learn, and live a full and productive life. In 2013, we maintained or increased service levels for most child health activities as compared to the prior year-- a strong sign of the genuine, ongoing need for these services.
We could not accomplish all we do without the support and commitment of our donors. Thank you again for all you do to help mothers, infants and children in Haiti!
Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) Haiti is grateful for your support for mothers and infants in rural Haiti. Maternal and Child Health is an HAS priority, and factors in to the majority of our hospital community health services. Programs in the hospital include high risk obstetrics, pediatrics and critical nutrition cases. Community based care is available in four community health centers in which HAS provides a variety of services to mothers and children, including pre-natal care and family planning, vaccinations and screenings for infections. Thus, from our community health workers who teach 8,000 women per month about various family health topics to our obstetric surgeons who perform nearly 300 emergency Cesarean sections per year for women with high-risk pregnancies, our team is dedicated to helping women and their families improve their health and quality of life. We provide all of these services at a low cost to the patient to make healthcare accessible to all of the 345,000 residents that live in our district.
This project, in which we raised over $7,000 with the help of caring supporters like you, allowed us to change the lives of 16 women and their families this past April and May. It completely funded the cost of the Cesarean sections for 16 women who came to the hospital during a three-week period with life-threatening complications such as eclampsia and placenta previa. Nearly all of these women’s hospital stays in the high-risk obstetrics ward of the hospital were also paid for in full, saving them and their families the stress of having to pay for a potentially long recovery. In the process of saving these women, their babies were also born safely and went home to begin their lives with their mothers.
Funding these services not only saved the lives of these 16 women and their newborn babies, but indirectly contributed to saving others as well. With budget relief for maternal health services, HAS can more easily fund other services as well. Donations such as these are crucial to allowing HAS to continue to provide excellent service as the only true, 24/7 hospital in our service area. Thank you from HAS for your generous support!
Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) improves health services for mothers and children in rural Haiti. Maternal and Child Health is a hospital priority, touching the lives of many served by HAS. Programs in the hospital include high risk obstetrics, pediatrics and critical nutrition cases. Community based care is available in four community health centers in which HAS provides a variety of services to mothers and children, including pre-natal care and family planning, vaccinations and screenings for infections.
Thanks to the $7,000 that you helped raise through GlobalGiving, we have been able to completely pay for thehospital stay of 15 women admitted to the OB/GYN ward with complications after childbirth, and conduct 16 C-sections (3 weeks’ worth) to allow mothers and babies to survive pregnancy complications such as placenta previa and eclampsia.
Again, I want to thank you for your wonderful support and encourage you to spread the word of our important work!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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