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
In September, we have seen the completion of two major construction projects: the Maternity 2 building and the North Haiti Rehabilitation centre. This completes this year’s plan for new buildings and allows us to reorganise the hospital to introduce new Maternal and Paediatric services and to create a permanent Rehabilitation Centre for North Haiti.
The Maternity and Paediatric Unit has been used for a host of activities in the last few years including our cholera response, spinal chord injuries unit, earthquake response and much more. However, by October, all our current rehabilitation patients who currently stay in one of our Maternity wards will be moved into our new permanent rehabilitation unit. Once everyone is moved and a few little repairs are made, our Maternity and Paediatric unit will be ready for opening!
We have launched a series of mobile clinics for Maternity and Paediatric care, this will run once a week till at least August 2012 and provide three communities with a six weekly Ante-natal and Paediatric clinic. These clinics have typical attendance figures between 50 to 100 patients and are a huge step forward in primary care capacity for the communities they serve. For more details please visit http://haitihospitalappeal.org/news/2011/07/new-life-giving-birth/
This project fills us with great joy because we have strived since the 2005 to help reduce maternal and infant mortality, and to see the community work in action like this made us content that we were making a difference. The big picture is that our hospital has established itself as a beacon of success for Haiti and many international visitors are stunned by the incredible vibrancy, cleanliness and hope that the project displays. Our need for funds are ever increasing and our commitment is to ensure over 90% of all donations go directly to the project.
If you'd like to continue supporting this urgent work, please contact us today or make a donation via Globalgiving. It's only thanks to you that such positive change is being made! Thanks again, and please keep up the great support.
A huge thanks again on behalf of everyone at the appeal for your continued support of our work. The Maternity service in Haiti is developing really well, and we're continuously grateful for this being made possible by individuals like you. For those of you who don't often visit our web-site, we thought we'd share an extract from a recent blog entry by our CEO when he returned to Haiti recently.
'Our Medical Director, Dr Toussaint, who works tirelessly at this hospital showed us around. As he finished up his ward round we waited amidst the heart of the pediatric unit. Besides us sat a thin, frail teenage girl holding an equally delicate baby, clearly malnourished. The eyes of this teenager seemed so lost and hopeless, as if she’d accepted her fate and was just letting time pass by. Dr Toussaint explained that she had AIDs, confirmation of what was tragically all too clear to see. My heart sank for this desperate young mother and child, with a future in store more painful than I could imagine.'
The situation across Haiti for mothers and babies is as this blog highlights often more painful than we could imagine. Yet, your support is generating great hope for many communities, and providing a new opportunity for many thousands of women and babies in the future to receive the support, love and care they require. Here are some of the practical ways you've helped move things forward...
Since our last report, the construction of the final piece of our Maternity Unit has begun and we are almost about to start the roof. This is the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle and will provide two birthing rooms, five individual patient rooms, and one double ward room.
In addition to this we have placed an order for all the specialist equipment needed for our maternity service, including beds, surgical instruments, monitoring and ultrasound machines, incubators and much more for the hospital. This consignment will be shipped from the USA in two containers and we hope that this will arrive in mid summer to coincide with the completion of the new building.
During this period we have also started our outreach anti-natal clinic to bring advice, screening and support to mothers in the outlying communities who have very little chance for access to primary health care. Our first outreach clinic served 73 women and over 100 children. We'll update you more on that next time!
This tremendous progress with the project has been made possible with support from grants and the funds raised by online giving, schools, churches, sports clubs and the like...and of course individuals like you!
We're desperate to see justice brought to the lives of the women and children in our area, those as described in the brief blog extract. Whilst the task can often seem too hard to face, you are making a huge difference. We'd love you to take two minutes to watch our latest film which will show you just how much hope is being generated in Haiti through your support! http://haitihospitalappeal.org/news/2011/06/change/
Thanks again for all your help and please keep up the great work.
A huge thanks again on behalf of everyone at the appeal for your continued support of our work. The Maternity service in Haiti is developing really well, and we're continuously grateful for this being made possible by individuals like you. For those of you who don't often visit our web-site, we thought we'd share some extracts from a recent blog entry by our CEO when he returned to the UK in January.
'Returning to the UK is always a difficult transition after being in Haiti for a long stint, and this time perhaps I’ve found it the hardest after the tragic scenes witnessed through the cholera epidemic. It was indescribably hard to witness the lives of so many washed away simply because of this poverty driven disease.
There was one particular girl who was abandoned at our site because of the cholera situation. As one of our staff gathered a special little friendship with this girl, it became clear that the family who’d bought her to the centre, weren’t her real family. She was what the Haitians call a ‘restavec’, which basically means she stayed with a host family. This happens in different ways, but for this young girl was done in a manner we’d heard before. An inner city family had gone to the countryside where they’d found a poor family and offered to take one of the children to the city for a ‘better life.’ Poorer families are offered a new life for their child, with promises of education and a future, yet the reality is often quite different. Some do find this life, but others are subjected to a life of modern day slavery, where they take care of all the family chores, rarely ever leaving the home.
As the days passed by we began to capture something of her story and started searching for her real family. When we finally managed to trace her real parents we were left to say a sad good bye to our new found friend, but with the promise we’d visit her the following week. The re-union of her family was both precious but sad, with both father and child affected my the months of separation.
In my final few days in Haiti as promised, we traveled the long journey into the countryside where we entered a small, isolated, mountain village. Here, surrounded by Haiti’s incredible beauty was a small mud hut and an impoverished family. A young mother of 25 years of age, with 6 or 7 children, two of which had become restavecs. Sat outside on a small, humble wooden and straw woven seat was our dear friend, in a worn out nighty, which she wore as a dress, like a beautiful princess. We sat with the family and began to hear a little of their dilemma, though we didn’t need them to highlight why they’d had to let two of their children go. The poverty was all too clear an answer. The empty mud hut, the scantily dressed children, the lack of food, the school next door which they’d never be able to afford, and the lack of family planning and support which meant their family were growing faster than they could cope with.
75% of Haitians are unemployed, and about 75% of births take place at home without any real medical support. These two ’75′ related stats summed up for me the reality of why this family had been left so vulnerable, and reminded me of why our work is so important. Our maternity outreach work will support families like this one through education and family planning. Yet, as I’ve reflected on this one story, I was recently horrified by another ’75′ related statistic. The sad reality is that since the earthquake child trafficking like this has increased in Haiti, with significant problems within the large tent cities. A recent report by The Telegraph commented on how some children were being bought from families for as little as about 75p. It’s almost inconceivable that a child could seemingly be worth so little. Sold for 75p and bought into a new world of varying futures.
The first thought to describe such a reality for the outside world, apart from disbelief, is probably one of neglect. I’ve been asked numerous times how women in Haiti can give their children away, and why they neglect them like this. In nearly every case I have ever seen though, it has not been a case of a mothers neglect, but the neglect of the world. That the inequality of the globe can lead to such families as this girls, in 2011, living in a mud hut, with no food, no education and no future. The reality that some children are being sold for 75p is not a reflection of a neglectful mother, but of a desperate mother left with little or no other choice.
They have little choice, but we do. Supporting our maternity and health work has deeper repercussions that simple health care. Done well, it can help decrease the tragic risk of trafficking and the tragic consequences of such 75p transactions. It can provide huge social change, and stop the long term cycle of such inexcusable injustices. As we undertake what is by far our biggest year yet, I’d ask you to remember such children, and draw alongside our work. Your support can help us share the reality that life is more precious than ’75p.’
If you'd like to read more blogs please visit our web-site: www.haitihospitalappeal.org
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