I wanted to give you all a huge thank you for digging deep and supporting our urgent Ambulance Appeal which ran over the last few months. I am delighted to tell you that we not only raised enough to get the ambulance repaired but also additional funds which are much needed to support the critical maternity and paediatric work. Supported through a match fund arranged by Global Giving UK, all donations to the project between April and June were matched with a further 50% which was a huge help. Thank you so much to everyone who donated. The ambulance is currently being repaired and will be back on the road soon saving lives once more.
As we've reported recently, we've seen amazing results from both our hospital based maternity care but also the community based work. The numbers of mothers having safer, attended, births is increasing all the time gradually lowering the avoidable maternal and infant mortality rates in the country.
But Haiti continues to face challenging situations daily as currently all government hospitals are on strike and have been so for 3 months! This means our hospital and community teams are working flat out to try and care for as many as they can. Sadly the reality in Haiti is that not all stories end well especially in these difficult circumstances.
One lady who was 25 years old came to the clinic for her first consultation late in her first pregnancy. She was term at this point. During her evaluation they found that she had a pre-existing heart condition, renal failure and was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia. She was given the different medicines needed and put on oxygen, but despite this she still wasn’t breathing well. An internal medicine Doctor was called to evaluate, he decided it would be best to keep her in the maternity ward yet the staff were anxious as to whether she could deliver. Her heart condition might mean she could not handle stress of a c-section due to the anaesthetic that would be used. They made the difficult decision to deliver her anyway using special equipment. Unfortunately the baby did not survive.
Even after this tragic loss, the mother’s health continued to deteriorate. At this point the mother was considered to need intensive care due to the severity of her condition. Our hospital does not have an ICU and due to a lack of available specialist care elsewhere and resistance from the family to move her, there wasn't anything more our staff could to do help her. Due to her pre-existing heart condition, renal failure, the severe pre-eclampsia and the unsupportive family the staff at the hospital were fighting a losing battle and one week after the mother delivered her child she also passed away.
This horrible story highlights the limitations of delivering specialist care in Haiti. But it also reinforces the importance of our community health programme which aims to identify high risk women and children at an earlier stage where the hospital can better treat their conditions and save their lives. Be assured that your continued support means so many more are avoiding the kind of tragedy I've talked about. Thank you.
On a more positive note, you may have already seen that last month, Haiti Hospital Appeal changed its name and is now 'Hope Health Action'. We are excited by this change as it more reflects the charity we are now 10 years after we were formed. Despite 'Haiti' going from the name, our heart remains firmly in Haiti with no plans to reduce our efforts to bring healthcare to the most vulnerable in Haitian society. In fact we think the name change will help open up some new funding opportunities and help us increase the sustainability of the project long into the future. We hope you will continue to stand with us as we enter this new chapter with the same passion to support the most vulnerable people in the world.