The last few months have been our busiest of 2013, with the maternity and neonatal unit often overflowing! It's incredible to see the number of women and babies being given excellent care at the hospital you support.
In fact, we have some great news! A few years ago, 75% of women were giving birth at home without any medical support in Haiti, placing women and babies at great risk! Thanks to projects like ours, that number has now fallen to 63%! In financially difficult times, where we often wonder where our donations go, we hope you'll be encouraged by this. However, whilst this shows the positive progress, its still a number which we want to dramatically reduce.
99% of maternal deaths still happen in the developing world, and everyday 800 women die due to child birth. This Christmas, we've launched a special appeal called 'A Royal Birth', with Downton Abbey star, Laura Carmichael (who plays Lady Edith). She became our patron and visited the hospital in Haiti last month! Laura said 'What the hospital have created here over the passed seven years with HHA is nothing short of extraordinary. Their maternity ward and an overflowing neonatal unit, (one of the very few units to support premature babies in North Haiti) saw over 5000 women, children and babies last year. World Health Organisation representatives recently stated it is one of the best in the country.'
However, despite the impact being made, we're struggling to keep this unit open! That's why we've launched the Royal Birth Campaign. If 1,000 individuals or groups could each raise £200 ($320US) this Christmas, we'll be able to keep this critical work open for another year, and give mothers and babies a safe birth this Christmas. Please join with us and Laura Carmichael, as we seek to fulfil this critical need. Please make a donation today and visit our special website: www.aroyalbirth.org
Many thanks to all of you who generously have been supporting our maternity and pediatric wards at HBCH! With your donations, we’ve been able to care for many Haitian mothers and children who otherwise would not receive medical attention. From March to May 2013, our maternity ward has provided care for 834 hospital visits - 70 visits to birth a child (half of those high-risk c-sections) and 402 prenatal visits including 189 ultrasounds. Haiti has an unusually high maternal mortality rate, even compared to other developing countries in the region. One of the largest factors for this troubling statistic is that more than 75% of all births happen at home without trained medical staff. Because of the reputation of our outstanding medical staff and facilities, HCBH is slowly dismantling the dangerous cultural norms of childbirth that have been prevalent for centuries. Many mothers in northern Haiti know that they can come to HCBH for excellent prenatal care, have a birth attended by an obstetrician and a pediatrician, and receive first-rate postnatal care for both herself and her newborn.
The pediatric ward at HCBH is just as busy! From March to May, we saw 883 visits, 181 of which were in-patients, and the remaining 702 were to the pediatric clinic. With your help, we were additionally able to provide for 149 children through our nutrition program. When the majority of a child’s meals consist of rice and beans, it’s impossible for them to consume all the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for healthy development. Unfortunately, that diet is the best case scenario for many young children in northern Haiti. Thus the ability to provide Medika Mamba, a fortified peanut butter made in Haiti, for a child makes a world of difference to them and their families.
We sincerely appreaciate your support of HCBH’s maternity and pediatric wards and hope we can continue to count on your to support our life-saving programs!
What a week its been in our Maternity and Paediatric Unit. Even today, the paediatric unit is busy with lots of children, and our maternity team have been in surgery undertaking an important operation. On behalf of all the team here, thanks for your continued support!
It's hard to share all the stories, but we thought we'd encourage you with one. Last week a young lady called Marie visited the hospital for a consultation with her mum, but was informed that she needed urgent, life saving surgery, or otherwise would sadly die. Initially overcome by fear, she declined any immidiate help. However, thanks to the love and compassion of our staff who offered counseling and support, Marie changed her mind. She was then successfully operated on, and several days later left the maternity unit, fit and well! Marie and her mother were both glowing with smiles the morning they left, deeply thankful for the suppor they'd recieved, which is only possible thanks to your support.
Marie is just one example of a life saved! In 2012, we provided care for over 2,500 women at the hospital, and the numbers keep increasing month by month!
This Friday is International Women's day, followed by Mothering Sunday in the UK at the weekend. For all those who have supported this project, we'd love you to join with us again, and help celebrate these two significant days with us, by supporting some of the most vulnerable women and mothers in Haiti. Women in Haiti still face a 1 in 37 chance of dying during delivery in Haiti, but we're helping to reduce this! Why not join us this week, and make a special donation in honor of a mum or inspiring woman you know. Chocolates and flowers never last long, but a 'gift in kind' towards our Maternity work can have a life long impact. Please join with us again, so we can provide care to other women like Marie. Thanks for your continued kind support.
Our Maternity and Paediatric services, opened in April 2012, have continued to increase in use over the last few months, saving the lives of women and children by bringing pregnancy, childbirth, neonatal and paediatric care to some of the poorest communities in Haiti.
The mobile maternal health clinic has been operating in target communities twice a month and is now seeing an average of 80 women per clinic day. The majority of these are now for repeat antenatal visits, demonstrating that more women are taking the opportunity to access the recommended four antenatal visits; according to recent UNFPA statistics, 85% of women in Haiti attend one antenatal appointment, but only 54% return for more than one.
The number of surgically-assisted births (caesarean sections) presented at the hospital unit has increased since opening, from 42% of the deliveries in the first month to 58% in July 2012, as has the use of the neonatal unit for premature and complicated births. We are receiving referrals from other hospitals – both Government and private facilities – from throughout the region, and even beyond it in some cases. The reputation for high-quality neonatal, premature baby care, supported by excellent facilities and the only functional incubators in the region, is one which is increasing and of which we are very proud.
The hospital unit has seen 905 women for pre-natal appointments between March and August 2012, an average of 150 appointments per month. The number of women attending pre-natal appointments has been increasing steadily month-by-month, from 28 in March to 109 in August, so it can be anticipated that this trend will continue, as the service increases its presence in the target communities through positive feedback from previous clients.
Since the paediatric unit opened it has steadily been treating increasing numbers of patients, reaching 267 during September – an average of almost 9 patients per day, in a ten bed facility. The highest number of patients seen are in the 2-5 years age bracket, which is the critical age for the danger of death due to childhood illness. The majority of the treatments are for diarrheal disease and rheumatic illness; both of which have been identified as the leading causes of under-5 mortality, respectively accounting for 16% and 20% of child death, in Haiti.
We can't explain how grateful we are that you continue to support us, so that we can keep these vital services available to the communities in and around Cap Haitian, in Northern Haiti.
The expression ‘your help can truly save lives’ can perhaps become a little cliché in the charitable sector. Since the Maternity and Paediatric Unit opened in April, Haiti Hospital Appeal has witnessed the wonderful reality of that statement, not as a cliché or slogan, but as a living, lifesaving experience for many Haitians.
In one month alone our paediatric department saw 259 children, of which 65 were hospitalised, and in the space of just a few weeks we witnessed three babies whose lives have undoubtedly been saved by emergency c-section births in the operating theatre. Had these deliveries happened at home, it’s very possible that the children, and potentially their mother, could have died or been left with a lifelong disability.
We can't express how grateful we are for your wonderful generosity. It is because of people like you that HHA is providing the kind of care and facilities that some perhaps once thought impossible in northern Haiti. Of course, this success presents us with a new series of challenges. The high level of staffing and care now offered must be supported and we are in real need of regular donors, either individuals or groups who can partner with us to continue and grow the provision of maternity and paeditatric care. Please spread the word about HHA, and continue to support us in whatever way you can. 'Like' our Facebook page or 'Follow' us on Twitter for more information and updates.
We hope this short update will inspire you, and remind you of the real difference you have made to mothers and babies in some of the poorest communities in Haiti. Thank you.
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