There was a period in November when it rained constantly for three days, resulting in flooding in central Cap Haitien. One night during this time, out in the rural area near the hospital, one of the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) in the training programme funded by HHA was with a pregnant woman who was displaying signs of a problematic birth, bleeding excessively. Knowing that there could be a danger to both mother and baby if she were to give birth at home, the TBA notified the community health agent for the area, Marcus.
Marcus, having learnt how to deal with such scenarios as part of his training, knew to call the ambulance to transport the patient to hospital but because of the turbulent weather he was unable to get through. Time was getting on, and transporting the patient on a motorbike would have been too risky, so Marcus and the TBA assisted the patient to get to the hospital on foot in the dark and pouring rain. They arrived, drenched, at three o’clock in the morning. The hospital staff in the maternity ward were able to give the lady the care she needed and she gave birth safely to a healthy boy two hours later.
Marcus is very proud of this case as it shows how communication and an established community network can lead to safe deliveries. He explains “we saved two lives that day. We need to care for pregnant women because they are not just one person, but two.” This is such an exciting story as it shows how our community health programme, making use of community health agents and traditional birth attendants, is effectively helping Haitians to give birth safely, and we look forward to hearing many more stories like this one.
On behave of all of our team, and the patients we are privileged to serve, thank you for making 2014 a wonderful year. We hope you will feel encouraged by the difference you have made. May we close by wishing you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
With much love and thanks
All the HHA team
Earlier this summer we received the amazing news, that the UK Government has agreed to fund a major new community health programme in Haiti, that we'll be leading. This project will last three years, and significantly increase the number of community health workers in some of the most marginalised areas of North Haiti. It will include training 12 health agents, supporting 80 traditional birth attendants (TBAs), and running mobile health units for the poorest communities. Even this week, we provided the first round of training for 20 TBAs, equipping them with the skills to provide safer births for mums and babies.
You may be thinking, 'this is great news, the maternity and paediatric unit is now funded for three years!' Whilst this new programme is very exciting, unfortunately it does not cover the facility-based costs included in running the maternity and paediatric units at the hospital. In fact, it adds an even greater need, as we anticipate that the improved community intervention will increase the number of patients being referred to the hospital, making these units even more busy and critical. Even at our first mobile health clinic last month, a number of children were referred to the hospital with severe malnutrition. Half the population of Haiti earns less than $1US per day, so you can appreciate that malnutrition is a common problem, but one we can solve.
Aside from these referrals, in August the maternity unit provided 51 natural deliveries and a number of emergency C-Sections. The paediatric unit also cared for over 340 children last month!
Despite the increased number of patients we are witnessing, the financial support for these units remains critical, and your support is needed now more than ever. Together, we have the opportunity to provide lifesaving care to thousands of mothers, babies and children, but we need to work together. Could you share this project via Facebook, twitter or e-mail with your friends, family and colleagues? The more people we can get behind this work, the more lives can be saved. Please consider joining with us again, so we can keep these units open! Thanks for your continued love and support.
In our last report, we shared the impact your support had made on our Maternity work in 2013. This time, we wanted to encourage you by the difference you're making to paediatric care!
Last year, you helped us provide care for over 2,065 children, through the provision of 3,863 inpatient and outpatient consultations. This included providing care for 265 babies in our neonatal unit.
The individual lives you have helped us save and support is incredible, but the need remains urgent. Just a few weeks ago, a young 18 year old mother was bought to the hospital we support, with severe complications during delivery. The mother and her baby had required a C-Section some 18 hours before arriving at our unit, but due to a lack of access to emergency obstetric care where she lived, and poor medical diagnosis, this didn't happen. She was eventually referred to us, where our team were quick to respond with emergency surgery, which included resuscitating her baby.
However, the severe delays in transferring this mother and baby to us, left the baby in a critical state. Thanks to our teams continued commitment to providing excellent care, the baby is progressing well, though may well face long term brain damage. We can avoid these situations with your support, by developing more training for medical proffessionals, and supporting the salaries of this unique medical team who are providing such critical care.
Please help us to save more mums and babies, by becoming a regular donor of this critical work, or making another one off donation. Thank you for your continued support. It really is making a huge difference.
We want to start by saying a huge thank you for all your support in the last few years! In 2013, our Maternity Unit saw a 76% increase in deliveries from 2012, providing safe births for 721 women. Of these, 218 were emergency C-Sections for women facing high risk births. These are the kind of women and babies whose lives would have been in grave danger without our support.
Aside from deliveries, we also provided more prenatal consultations than ever before, and saw our paediatric and neonatal unit grow as well...more on that next time!
For a country that struggles with the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere, its encouraging to see your support save so many lives. There are now more women in our region giving birth safely in hospitals than ever before. This is wonderful news, and something that should be celebrated.
However, as the number of women and children attending our hospital increase, so too does the need of more support. As patient numbers increase, more materials, lab tests, medicines, staff and other overheads are needed. We'd greatly appreciate your continued partnership to ensure we can meet these needs.
Together we've already proved what can be achieved. Please join with us again, so we can see even more mums and babies have safe births in 2014!
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
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