Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti

by Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc.
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Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti
Support Maternal Health in Rural Haiti

When we first started brainstorming ideas for our Baby Box pilot program, we had no idea of the obstacles that would come our way. Months of civil unrest, rioting and overall safety concerns in Haiti halted the program and delayed us - we were months behind our targeted timeline. 

But, we were determined to make this project work. We knew how important these items were to moms in rural Haiti. We knew how special it would be for them to be able to bring their babies home in new, clean clothes. We knew how appreciative they would be of the hygiene products and how much they would enjoy wrapping their babies in the soft, cozy blankets we could provide them. All the while, we would be incentizing them to return to our clinic for all their necessary pre natal appointments, taking into consideration what a challenge this can be for a mom in rural Haiti. Finding child care for other little ones, financial struggles and lack of transport easily prevent them from doing so, which made us even more determined to be able to provide these baby boxes to them. 

When we finally clicked "Order" on the first batch of onesies, towels, pacifers and more, we were ecstatic! Our vision was finally coming to reality - all thanks to you, our generous supporters and donors. 

We are so happy to send you this final project report. The first round of baby box items have finally made their way to Haiti, and into the hands of new moms in one of the most rural, remote areas in the Western hemisphere. 

Words cannot suffice; the words 'thank you' don't seem nearly strong enough to show our appreciation. On behalf of the mothers our clincis serve, and our entire time, we sincerely hope you've enjoyed following us along on this journey, and we hope you will continue to stay connected with us. For more updates from the field, you can visit our Facebook and Instagram (linked below). 

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When we created this Global Giving fundraiser last year, we were hoping to gather the funds needed to launch a baby box program in Haiti. Our goal was to create incentives for expecting mothers to attend all required prenatal appointments prior to delivery. In a rural setting, where transport, child care, and money are scarce, visiting our maternal health centers requires a lot of commitment from the mothers in our communities. Haiti is the sixth poorest country in the world. Women must make difficult decisions such as which child to feed, which to send to school, and unfortunately, if they can afford to travel for a medical appointment. 

Through our incredible network of friends and supporters, we quickly reached the goal we set and were able to start devising a plan of what items would be most useful for new mothers in the Central Plateau. We were so excited to put together these kits, and see the mothers' faces when they received them.

What we did not expect were a series of setbacks - several weeks of civil unrest and violence in Haiti resulted in closed roads, limiting our staff, and mobility on the ground. We were scrambling to keep our clinics open and patients treated. But, we remained commited to this project.

We are very proud to announce that this month, we were able to ship all the items purhased for the baby boxes down to Haiti and will begin distribution early next month!

Items purchased include onesies, blankets, hygiene products and more. We cannot wait to share pictures with you soon. Thank you for your patience and support!

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If you have been tuning into news about Haiti, you will have been made aware of the violence and turmoil the country is in currently. It has been a very difficult few weeks for our staff, but we are dedicated to our mission, and refuse to abandon our work. Our health and maternity clinics in the Central Plateau remain open, and we delivered 22 babies in 8 days during the height of the riots throughout the country. We are one of few organizations that are still serving the community.

Unfortunately, the current state of the country has forced several changes in our programs. One of the affected initiatives is the Baby Box program. At the moment, we are operating with limited resources, and due to the instability, have had to temporarily put on hold baby box distribution. We are hopeful that the country will return to a stable state, and have plans to re-evaluate our plan in the coming weeks.

Below, we share with you an update from a few weeks ago, when we hosted out our Lahoye Maternity Center ribbon cutting ceremony.

Project Medishare staff, board members, donors, supporters and community members gathered together in Lahoye, Central Plateau on January 25 to celebrate the official ribbon cutting ceremony of Project Medishare's second maternity center.

Speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony included Project Medishare Founder Dr. Barth Green, government officials, and representatives from Haiti's Ministry of Health.

This new facility has been greatly welcomed in this remote, rural community bordering the Dominican Republic. Prior to opening this second maternity center, pregnant women in Lahoye traveled nearly an hour via motorbike, or longer by foot, to access our Marmont maternity center. In a country with one of the globe's highest maternal mortality rates, maternity centers like ours are changing the landscape for women's health services in rural Haiti.

As a very special surprise, we welcomed a new baby girl, Stephanie, born at the clinic during our ceremony!



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This past year, Project Medishare opened a second maternity center, in Lahoye. The first woman to give birth in the new center was 23-year old Tagella. For Tagella, it was her first time delivering in a clinic.

Tagella lives in a very rural area, with the nearest hospital being more than 45 minutes away. With her first two children, she went into labor at night. Risking the trip, on an unpaved road in the dark, was too dangerous. So, her first two children were born at home, with no medical supervision. This is the case for thousands of woman in the Central Plateau.

With our new maternity center in Lahoye, Tagella now has somewhere she can safely give birth, under the care of our trained nurses and midwives and she can encourage other women to do the same.

Your contributions will be aiding mothers like Tagella, helping to make childbirth and pregnancy safer for moms in rural Haiti. Our first eligible baby box recipients are due to give birth in early 2019. We can’t wait to share with you the stories of these mothers. Thank you for your continued support of our programs, together we are saving lives.

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Over the last three months, the staff at Project Medishare’s two maternity centers in rural Haiti have been working diligently to promote the baby box and newborn welcome kit among their patients. Posters and flyers have been placed in both maternity centers, creating visual images of the baby box and its contents, and outlining eligibility requirements. This awareness helps our team educate expecting moms on the importance of continued prenatal care, safe delivery services and postnatal care.

Additionally, we’ve finalized which items will be in the baby box, including washcloths, a swaddle blanket, baby wipes, thermometer and much more. The boxes and accompanying materials will be purchased in the fall and shipped to Haiti before the end of the year. The first boxes are expected to be distributed in January or February 2019.

Between our two maternity centers in Marmont and Lahoye, there are currently 152 expecting mothers eligible to receive a baby box. (A total of 80 baby boxes will be distributed as part of this pilot initiative.) The moms-to-be are excited about the possibility of receiving a baby box, which aside from providing newborn babies a safe place to sleep, will also include essential health and baby care items -- many of which are considered luxuries in a rural setting such as the Central Plateau.

One of the eligible mothers that we’ve had the opportunity to meet recently is Masius. Masius is 18 years old and expecting her first child. She’s eight weeks into her first trimester and lives with her husband in Hinche, a nearby town about 20 minutes away by motor vehicle. She travels to our maternity center in Marmont via motorcycle taxi. Masius considers herself fortunate, because she was able to complete both primary school and her first year of high school. She works in "commerce", which is a common occupation for women in Haiti, selling food or small household items as a street vendor or from a small store.

Masius and her husband hope to welcome their first baby at the maternity center in Marmont. They know they have other delivery options in their community, but her husband has heard good things about the quality of care provided by Project Medishare’s team of nurses and midwives. She would like to participate in the baby box program; we’ve encouraged her to come to all of her visits and complete required laboratory tests so that she will be eligible to receive the box for her new baby.

Thank you for your support of this program, which is helping to make childbirth and pregnancy safer for moms in rural Haiti. Because of you, expecting mom like Masius will welcome healthy babies into the world.

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Organization Information

Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc.

Location: Miami, Florida - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Medishare4Haiti
Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc.
Project Medishare
Project Leader:
Project Medishare
Miami, Florida United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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