Health
 Haiti
Project #2229

Run a Maternity and Pediatric Service in Haiti

by Hope Health Action
Vetted

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. 

Links:

Ambulance in ravine
Ambulance in ravine

Last month we received sad news that our 4x4 ambulance in Haiti had been involved in a terrible accident. On 5th March the ambulance was transporting one of our rehabilitation patients home, an elderly man who had suffered a bad stroke. Accompanied by our driver and a nurse, they set off to his home in a remote mountainous region, navigating some difficult terrain - made even worse than normal by heavy rain.

As they ascended one particular dirt track in the mountains, part of the road gave way sending the ambulance and occupants tumbling into a ravine beneath them.  Whilst those involved were obviously shaken up, miraculously no-one was seriously injured. 
 
Although the ambulance was recovered, the damage caused was severe and has put this critical resource out of action – in turn placing hundreds of lives at greater risk. The cost of these repairs is estimated at £4000.
 
Funding this kind of unplanned cost is very difficult so we've launched an urgent appeal to raise money to repair the ambulance. We are so greatful to GlobalGiving UK for helping our appeal by arranging a 50% match fund. This means than any donations made to our Maternity project page through Global Giving UK will be increased by 50% until the funds run out.*

Make a match funded donation today.

The ambulance is a critical resource in reducing maternal and infant mortality in the region. Our network of community health workers and birth attendants refer high risk mothers and infants to the hospital with the 4x4 ambulance often being the only way to get them help in time. It's so important we continue this vital service as soon as possible.

 As a previous donor to our maternity and paediatric project I'm sure you have a heart for the mothers and babies who are risk while our ambulance is out of action. Please donate once more and help get our ambulance back on the road and saving lives again. 

Thank you so much for your support.

 
*Please be aware that only donations made through globalgiving.co.uk are eligible for match funding and the total matching pot is limited to £5000. Visit our match fund page for more details and to make a donation. 

rehab patient
rehab patient
Villagers recovering the ambulance
Villagers recovering the ambulance

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baby in neonatal
baby in neonatal

Our neonatal unit is regarded as the best place for neonatal care in the north of Haiti and rightly so. We have skilled doctors, dedicated nurses and specialist equipment which is simply not available anywhere else in the region. Babies are brought to our hospital from hours away in the hope they will get the treatment they need to survive. And the truth is babies will have a better chance if they come to us.

But when working in a developing country like Haiti, where the need for our services is so high and the resources are always over-stretched, the outcome won't always be positive. Doctors are regulary faced with impossible decisions which will decide the fate of a newly born babies just like a situation I experienced during a recent visit to Haiti.

In one afternoon 5 new babies were brought to the neonatal unit, most from other hospitals many miles away. Three babies were in a critical condition. One baby was extremely premature and born on the street. Two others were term babies suffering from severe breathing difficulties. All three needed immediate and specialist treatment to survive. 

The tragic reality is that there isn't enough equipment to treat this many critical babies at the same time. The unit only has one CPAP oxygen delivery machine and all three babies needed it. The doctors had the impossible job of deciding which baby has the best chance of survival and receive the breathing support. It's not fair but it's something they have to deal with day in, day out. 

We are committed to increasing the capacity of maternity and neonatal care in Haiti so these unthinkable decisions don't need to be made. This means providing funding for the day to day running costs but also funding capacity building projects and new equipment. Your continued support has been vital to growing the services to the state they are now, saving the lives of thousands of women and children every year.

We are working with the hospital on a plan to increase the size of the unit including more vital equipment such as additional CPAP machines. This specialist equipment is incredibly expensive so if you can help support this work yet again you would be helping to save lives for years to come.Thank you so much.  

baby in incubator
baby in incubator

Links:

Jean
Jean

One of the core motivations to set up the hospital 10 years ago was to create a place where women, children and babies could be cared for and reduce the number of unnecessary deaths through lack of basic health care. Thanks to the incredible support we've received over the years from you and other loyal donors our maternity and paediatric facilities are treating thousands of women and children every year, contributing to falling maternal and infant mortality rates. 

But when it comes to babies, the treatment they require is almost always specialist and will usually be the difference between life and death. In Haiti half of all babies born prematurely will die because there are so few facilities that can offer this specialist care. 

But since 2012 we have been providing the specialist neonatal care that premature and critically sick babies need and in the last year alone 423 babies have received treatment at the hospital. Many would have died without it. Babies like Jean.

Jean arrived at the hospital last month at only 1 day old with a raging fever and clearly in pain. Head doctor, Dr Toussaint, diagnosed a anal imperforation which required immediate surgery. Thankfully the hospital is equipped and able to provide such life-saving surgery and now Jean has recovered enough to enjoy his first Christmas at home with his family. His family know how close they came to losing their new baby but sadly for most Haitian mothers there is no help for their baby in such a time of need. This is something we are passionate about changing and thanks to your support change is happening.

This Christmas we are trying to raise money to increase and improve our neonatal facility further so that more babies have the chance to live in the years to come and more families are spared from tragedy. If you can help us again to make this a reality we would be so grateful. Thank you for everything you have done.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at HHA. 

Jean after surgery
Jean after surgery

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Baby receiving treatment
Baby receiving treatment

At the hospital we know we only see the lucky few who can get to us so an increasingly important part of our work is to go out into the more remote communities and deliver treatment to the most vulnerable where they are.

During one of our mobile clinics, our very first patient seen was a 2 month only little girl. She was lethargic & so very tiny. Her mum was 16 years old, so very young herself. She explained that her daughter had been having diarrhea for 2 days and had not been breastfeeding. Without hesitation, our receiving doctor called the hospital (HCBH) to refer her for admission, noting her severe dehydration.

From the point of referral to putting in an IV, it took less than 30 minutes in total. The staff were so kind and helpful to this mother, who struggles to financially care for herself and her little girl. She received teaching on breast feeding, caring for her newborn, and what her hospital stay would look like. The next morning, after spending all night with her little girl, the mum had a smile as we passed by to check on her.

She was so proud that she had done the right thing and gotten her sweet little girl the care she needed. Such pride in learning how to be a new mum.

These good news stories of when we reached a young family just at the right time are so uplifting for everyone working here but we know that for every happy ending there are many tragic ones we have not been able to change. If you can help us reach more vulnerable mothers, babies and children then please consider making another donation today. Thank you so much. 

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Organization Information

Hope Health Action

Location: West Wickham, Kent - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.hopehealthaction.org
Project Leader:
Carwyn Hill
Bromley, Kent United Kingdom
$93,025 raised of $98,000 goal
 
 
511 donations
$4,975 to go
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