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.
It is with great excitement that HHA’s new Maternity and Paediatric Unit OPENED on 9 April 2012!
We’ve been building towards this for several years, faithfully accompanied by our generous supporters. Our Head Nurse described the opening day as a ‘victory’ for Haiti and our Hospital Chaplain described huge excitement and eager anticipation of many mothers in North Haiti, sharing his hope about the powerful effect the unit will have to reduce maternal and child hood mortality.
With two birthing suites, a 15 bed public ward, 7 bed private ward (income from which will be channelled into operation of the public service) and OBGYN operating theatre, the Maternity unit is ready to help the Haitian government tackle one of the biggest health care needs in Haiti. Alongside the Maternity wards is our 7 bed neo-natal unit, and 17 bed Paediatric unit. These new wards will be operated by more than 20 new staff who began providing a fantastic service on the first day; within hours of opening we had our first two children admitted to the paediatric ward, one critically ill in a coma and under intensive care by our team. Working with love, dignity and compassion they embody everything we hoped for in the unit. Read more on our blog Carwyn and Reninca’s most recent blog – What a Day.
It’s been a truly incredible journey getting to this point, and we’re incredibly thankful to all of our supporters. Please continue to spread the word and also support the running of this new unit, changing the face of child birth for mothers from some of the poorest communities in North Haiti.
Merry Christmas from the Haiti Hospital Appeal! We want to take this opportunity to wish all our supporters the very best of seasons greetings. Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year, yet it can also hide us from the realities of life for the hurting and the broken, wherever they might be. For us, we seek to continue to bring hope and new life to the people of Haiti through health care services. It really has been an exciting year. Even today, construction continues on our site. Yet, we look to next year believing greater things are yet to come.
Life saving neo-natal training
A recent report by UNICEF, UN, WHO, and the World Bank highlighted that globally 70% of under 5 deaths occur in the first year of a babies life. The report states that ‘Neonatal mortality is increasingly important because the proportion of under-five deaths that occur during the neonatal period is increasing as under-five mortality declines…With the proportion of under-five deaths during the neonatal period increasing in every region and almost all countries, systematic action is required by governments and partners to reach women and babies with effective care.’
Perhaps most alarmingly, Haiti is one of the countries that has struggled the most to reach it’s millennium development goal in reducing child mortality. The report indicates that in 1990, the under 5 mortality rate in Haiti was 151 deaths per 1,000 live births, but by 2010 it was 165 deaths per 1,000 live births. Haiti had been set a target of reducing this rate to 50 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015, but is one of a hand full of countries under-achieving its national goal, with an annual negative rate of reduction between 1990-2010 of -0.4%.
The completion of our new neo-natal unit couldn’t be more timely. Whilst we’ve been busy responding to the cholera epidemic and earthquake response, behind the scenes our team have also been working tirelessly to see our maternity and paediatric unit completed. With our final building just completed and two containers full of specialist equipment having arrived in Haiti in the last few month, we’re just about to start this vital service. Whilst we’ve been pulling the final logistical issues together, exciting developments have already been made.
In October we held intensive neo-natal training for our Haitian staff supporting over 25 Haitian medics. It was a privilege having two US volunteers here sharing their skills, and our staff responded with great enthusiasm and joy. These techniques being learnt will undoubtedly save lives! Whilst the statistics can be alarming, the reality is that it often only requires very simple prevention and intervention to dramatically decrease the risk of child mortality.
A few weeks ago we finally received a container of new maternity equipment. It is now being arranged and distributed into the different rooms. This is a dream come true, the equipment is one of the final hurdles, it had been stuck in customs a short while but now we can look forward to the new year and the opening finally and officially of the service. Dr Adlin our Maternity Director is so excited and with Dr Touissant, they are spending many hours planning for the service to start.
However, whilst our team are learning vital skills to save lives, we’re still in need of greater financial support to ensure their skills can be used affectively. Without the generous help of our supporters more lives will needlessly be lost.
This work needs your help if it is to succeed. Can you support it? If yes, please donate today. Thank you. Keep an eye out on our website for information about a few events taking place over the month of January. On the 12th we remember the 2nd year anniversary since the earthquake.
Thanks for all your continued help and support, we wish you a very happy new year. With love
All of the Haiti Hospital Appeal Team
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