Health
 Haiti
Project #2229

Run a Maternity and Pediatric Service in Haiti

by Hope Health Action
Vetted
Frances in the Paediatric unit
Frances in the Paediatric unit

Treating children effectively is rarely simple so when complicated paediatric cases come into the hospital providing not only high quality emergency care, but all the neccessary follow up services is vital to ensure children have the best chance of returning to normality. This was certainly the case when a four year old girl named Frances was admitted to the hospital this spring.

She had been having seizures since 10 o’clock that morning, and it was already late afternoon. her blood sugar levels were incredibly low upon her admission, and she was clearly a very poorly little girl. The staff were a little puzzled about her symptoms, but after questioning the parents about the day’s events, they realised that the child was suffering from poisoning of a toxic fruit. The fruit in question is called “ackee”. This tropical fruit is popular in some Caribbean cuisine, however if eaten when raw or unripe, or the wrong parts consumed, it can be very dangerous as it contains high levels of toxins hypoglycin A and B.

Frances fell into a coma following her reaction to the toxic substance and she stayed in a comatose state for twelve days in the paediatric unit under the watchful care of the staff. They never gave up hope, and her parents and staff were delighted when she awoke. She was suffering from neurological problems with her balance and motor skills so after being discharged from the hospital, she was referred to the onsite rehab unit where she continued to attend daily physiotherapy sessions for three months.

She will have lasting cerebral damage from the ackee poisoning, but thanks to the quick actions of the staff at the paediatric unit, and the follow-up care from the rehab staff, she not only survived but is able to live a relatively normal life back with her family, something that her parents thought may never again be possible. 

This kind of holistic care is incredibly rare in Haiti and Frances was lucky to have been taken to us. But we are passionate about bettering healthcare in the what is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Through your ongoing support we are constantly developing these high quality services so that more children like Frances can survive and recover from life threatening situations. Thank you so much for making this possible! 

Poisonous Ackee fruit
Poisonous Ackee fruit

Links:

Chris - patient at the paediatric unit
Chris - patient at the paediatric unit

We are delighted to announce that the target for the emergency appeal we launched last year to save the maternity and paediatric units from closing has been reached! This means that thousands of children and hundreds of birthing mothers in Haiti will receive the life-saving health care they need this year. Thank you so much to all of you who donated so generously to this urgent appeal! One of the children you are supporting is Chris...

Chris was a patient at the paediatric unit in February of this year. He was born with the genetic disorder sickle cell anaemia, which means that his body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells which can block blood flow and cause organ damage as well as extreme pain.

At only five years old, Chris is a frequent visitor to HCBH, having been attending regularly for treatment since its paediatric service opened in 2012. Every time his body gets stressed, he suffers from a sickle cell crisis, which can be very painful and potentially life-threatening. He is usually admitted for a couple of days, but this past occasion he ended up staying for a total of five, after receiving two blood transfusions and painkillers.

Chris is a feisty little boy despite his circumstances and chatters away with the nurses as they do their rounds; they are quite familiar to him because of his frequent stays at the hospital. When asked who his favourite person at the hospital is, he thinks about it and then says “Dr Toussaint”, the hospital’s chief medical director and practising paediatrician. Why? “Because he’s friendly and doesn’t stick needles in me, like everyone else!” he continues with a cheeky grin.

Thanks to the paediatric unit at the hospital, Chris’ family know where to come so that he is able to receive reliable care from truly outstanding medical professionals who not only provide treatment, but take the time to get to know their patients. It is a testament to the affectionately nicknamed Dr T and his staff that children like Chris know them by name and can smile while talking about them, even if they do sometimes have to stick them with needles! 

Although patients like Chris can rely on the amazing hospital staff to care for him thanks to your dedicated support, the need for more funding is ever-present. We need to make sure these vital health care services are in place long into the future and grow to provide life-changing care for many more Haitians. Anything you can do to help make this vision a reality will be a blessing to us and the Haitians we exist to help.

Thank you for everything you have done to support maternity and paediatric services in Haiti.

With much love and thanks,

All the HHA team 

Dr Toussaint - Chief Medical Director
Dr Toussaint - Chief Medical Director
Emergency appeal success
Emergency appeal success

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Samuel, a survivor working with us to bring hope
Samuel, a survivor working with us to bring hope

Today marks the 5th Anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12th January 2010.  With around 3,500,000 people affected, an estimated 220,000 lives lost, and over 300,000 injured, many questioned Haiti's future.

Thanks to your support, our response has left a legacy that continues to save thousands of lives every year.  Five years on and we remain more committed than ever to support Haiti's efforts in giving women and children the critical care they deserve. 

Thanks to the incredible support of Konbit Sante (one of our partners in Haiti) we have a unique opportunity with Global Giving to match fund every donation you make towards this work 100%.  That means if you donate £10, we can instantly double it to £20.

Please join with us and make a donation to this critical work today.  Your support will help keep a leading Maternity and Paediatric Unit in North Haiti open through out 2015.  

If you have time, please also take a moment to share our Global Giving Match Fund page with your friends and family.  For many, this may be the perfect way to remember Haiti 5 years on:  

http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/projects/run-a-pediatric-and-maternity-unit-in-haiti/

Thanks again for your continued kind support.

Links:

Marcus, one of our twelve community health agents
Marcus, one of our twelve community health agents

There was a period in November when it rained constantly for three days, resulting in flooding in central Cap Haitien. One night during this time, out in the rural area near the hospital, one of the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) in the training programme funded by HHA was with a pregnant woman who was displaying signs of a problematic birth, bleeding excessively. Knowing that there could be a danger to both mother and baby if she were to give birth at home, the TBA notified the community health agent for the area, Marcus.

Marcus, having learnt how to deal with such scenarios as part of his training, knew to call the ambulance to transport the patient to hospital but because of the turbulent weather he was unable to get through. Time was getting on, and transporting the patient on a motorbike would have been too risky, so Marcus and the TBA assisted the patient to get to the hospital on foot in the dark and pouring rain. They arrived, drenched, at three o’clock in the morning. The hospital staff in the maternity ward were able to give the lady the care she needed and she gave birth safely to a healthy boy two hours later.

Marcus is very proud of this case as it shows how communication and an established community network can lead to safe deliveries. He explains “we saved two lives that day. We need to care for pregnant women because they are not just one person, but two.” This is such an exciting story as it shows how our community health programme, making use of community health agents and traditional birth attendants, is effectively helping Haitians to give birth safely, and we look forward to hearing many more stories like this one.

On behave of all of our team, and the patients we are privileged to serve, thank you for making 2014 a wonderful year.  We hope you will feel encouraged by the difference you have made.  May we close by wishing you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

With much love and thanks

All the HHA team

At one of our mobile clinics
At one of our mobile clinics

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Mums and children coming for vaccinations
Mums and children coming for vaccinations

Earlier this summer we received the amazing news, that the UK Government has agreed to fund a major new community health programme in Haiti, that we'll be leading.  This project will last three years, and significantly increase the number of community health workers in some of the most marginalised areas of North Haiti.  It will include training 12 health agents, supporting 80 traditional birth attendants (TBAs), and running mobile health units for the poorest communities.  Even this week, we provided the first round of training for 20 TBAs, equipping them with the skills to provide safer births for mums and babies.

You may be thinking, 'this is great news, the maternity and paediatric unit is now funded for three years!'  Whilst this new programme is very exciting, unfortunately it does not cover the facility-based costs included in running the maternity and paediatric units at the hospital.  In fact, it adds an even greater need, as we anticipate that the improved community intervention will increase the number of patients being referred to the hospital, making these units even more busy and critical.  Even at our first mobile health clinic last month, a number of children were referred to the hospital with severe malnutrition.  Half the population of Haiti earns less than $1US per day, so you can appreciate that malnutrition is a common problem, but one we can solve.

Aside from these referrals, in August the maternity unit provided 51 natural deliveries and a number of emergency C-Sections.  The paediatric unit also cared for over 340 children last month!

Despite the increased number of patients we are witnessing, the financial support for these units remains critical, and your support is needed now more than ever.  Together, we have the opportunity to provide lifesaving care to thousands of mothers, babies and children, but we need to work together.  Could you share this project via Facebook, twitter or e-mail with your friends, family and colleagues?  The more people we can get behind this work, the more lives can be saved.  Please consider joining with us again, so we can keep these units open!  Thanks for your continued love and support.

Providing nutritional support for babies
Providing nutritional support for babies

Links:

 

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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
$94,448 raised of $98,000 goal
 
518 donations
$3,552 to go
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