We're pleased to announce that one of our partners, the Haiti Hospital Appeal, recently received some UK Government funding to implement a major new community health program in North Haiti. This program will include identifying high risk pregnant women in the community through prenatal care, and ensuring they are referred appropriately to the hospital for specialist emergency medical support. This will include working with 80 Traditional Birth Attendants, supporting a local ambulance service, and many other activities.
As you can imagine, whilst the hospital is incredibly happy about this new grant, it has also raised the concern that departments like the neonatal intensive care unit are likely to receive even more patients in the coming months, as more babies get referred from the community for care. Since last August the neonatal unit has cared for 321 babies, and this number is now likely to increase. As one example of the life saving care being offered...of those 321 babies, 87 of them had jaundice, a condition which if untreated can leave a baby brain damaged and disabled for the rest of their life. Jaundice is easy to treat, and with simple phototherapy, a babies life can be saved! Thanks to your support, the neonatal unit offers phototherapy to babies everyday.
However, whilst the demand increases, the financial support needed to sustain this work unfortunately remains a challenge, which is why we need your support now more than ever.
We want to ensure that this neonatal intensive care unit can remain open, so it can continue supporting this increased demand, but we need your help to achieve this. Could you share this critical project with your friends, family or colleagues through Facebook, twitter or e-mail? The more people who hear about it, the more babies we can support! We would also be very grateful if you'd consider making another donation towards this work. We believe every baby deserves the right start to life, and this unit is actively saving lives every day. Thanks for your continued support of The Haiti Health Trust.
Jude’s mother is just 18 years old, and went into labor about 50 miles from our hospital. Tragically, she required an emergency C-Section, which was unavailable in her community. Jude’s mother wasn’t initially referred to our facility, in fact it was 18 hours after diagnosis that a physician realized she was in a life-threatening position, and she was quickly ambulanced to our hospital. Thanks to the swift response of our team, Jude’s mother received an immediate C-section upon arrival, thankfully saving her and Jude. Sadly, whilst the pediatric team was able to revive Jude and admit her into our intensive care unit, the lifelong damage caused by this unjust 18 hour wait for care, placed her life in grave danger.
Currently, next to Jude in our Neonatal Unit is another baby with a brighter outlook. Wilnese was referred to us from a town over an hour away, born severely prematurely. It’s rare in Haiti for babies so premature to survive, but thanks to our team’s efforts, she is thriving. We are now searching for her parents, who abandoned her, in the belief that a child so small in Haiti would never survive. Both of these cases highlight the critical and often heartbreaking challenges of Haiti, but also the urgent importance of the services at our unit and our incredible staff, who are saving lives every day.
One of the largest factors for the high infant mortality rate in Haiti is the lack of access to high-quality, affordable, accessible healthcare. While some mothers (mostly uninformed on the risks of childbirth) choose to give birth at home, as is the cultural norm, many other mothers are forced to because of socio-economic circumstances.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the HCBH hospital we support continues to provide first-rate care to Haitian infants. Many mothers from across northern Haiti choose to have their babies here because of the excellent facilities and capable doctors and nurses. An American pediatrician and professor who recently volunteered at the unit remarked that none of the babies in the NICU would be alive, if not for the exceptional care provided by the staff physicians.
Giving birth at the hospital we support ensures attendance by an OB/GYN and a pediatrician, which is far preferable to the cultural standard of an untrained midwife. However, midwives are increasingly referring complicated cases to our unit, as are physicians at the state hospital in Cap-Haitien. The increasing referrals is a positive indicator of improving public health conditions, as this is one of the major shortcomings of the healthcare system of the Departement du Nord (Jasmin 2008). However, the need for increasing support accompanies the ever-increasing amount of referrals.
We sincerely thank those of you who have supported our NICU in the past and hope we can count on your continued support. You are a vital component of the unit's and the hospital's success and really do make a difference to countless Haitian families!
Firstly, on behalf of everyone at The Haiti Health Trust (THHT), thanks for your continued support of our neonatal unit in Haiti. We've had 59 people donate over $7,500US in the last few months, which has been critical in our ability to keep this unit open.
Even today we have 5 little babies in our unit. Three of them are premature, and were referred to us by other facilities unable to offer this specialist care. Despite the best efforts of the local government hospital, they struggle to cater for the large population of over 800,000 that they're called to serve. With no working incubators available at their site, our work is critical to tackling the high rate of infant mortality in Haiti, which has the highest rates in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, 35% of all infant deaths in Haiti take place during the neonatal stage.
Thanks to your support, things are changing in our target area! In the first nine months of opening, the neonatal unit supported over 100 babies. Just last week, one mother rushed to our hospital giving birth. When her baby was born he wasn't breathing, but thanks to the quick and professional support of our team, was resuscitated and is now recovering well.
This Friday is International Women's Day, and we're encouraging all of our fantastic supporters to celebrate, by making another gift towards our Women's health work, including the neonatal unit, so that we can continue this critical work. The economical situation continues to challenge the charity sector, but with your support, we can continue to provide this life saving care. You could also use International Women's Day to spread the word about THHT. If you could spare a moment to send a Tweet, update your Facebook page, or share with friends and family about our work, that would be amazing.
Thanks for your continued support, and please do continue joining with us, as we provide care to these special little ones.
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