Haiti Hospital Appeal, West Wickham, United Kingdomhttp://www.haitihospitalappeal.org
Haiti Hospital Appeal, West Wickham, United Kingdomhttp://www.haitihospitalappeal.org
Working alongside the Haitian Government and other NGOs, the unit will provide specific healthcare to pregnant women, avoiding unnecessary health problems within birth for mother and child.
Haiti has the highest rate of infant, under five and maternal mortality in the western hemisphere. Due to the extreme poverty, 75% of births take place at home without any medical support in Haiti resulting in over 3000 women dying in childbirth every year - A rate fifty times higher than America. Our challenge is establishing a sustainable, coherent and accessible maternity service in North Haiti.
Our maternity unit will provide anti-natal screening and support for mothers at greatest risk, ultrasound services and C-section surgery for emergency cases. Our neo-natal ward will provide 24-hour monitoring and incubators for babies at risk.
With this project we will be able to reduce both maternal and child mortality rates and begin to establish a new era of safer childbirth in a region of over 1 million people.
What a week its been in our Maternity and Paediatric Unit. Even today, the paediatric unit is busy with lots of children, and our maternity team have been in surgery undertaking an important operation. On behalf of all the team here, thanks for your continued support!
It's hard to share all the stories, but we thought we'd encourage you with one. Last week a young lady called Marie visited the hospital for a consultation with her mum, but was informed that she needed urgent, life saving surgery, or otherwise would sadly die. Initially overcome by fear, she declined any immidiate help. However, thanks to the love and compassion of our staff who offered counseling and support, Marie changed her mind. She was then successfully operated on, and several days later left the maternity unit, fit and well! Marie and her mother were both glowing with smiles the morning they left, deeply thankful for the suppor they'd recieved, which is only possible thanks to your support.
Marie is just one example of a life saved! In 2012, we provided care for over 2,500 women at the hospital, and the numbers keep increasing month by month!
This Friday is International Women's day, followed by Mothering Sunday in the UK at the weekend. For all those who have supported this project, we'd love you to join with us again, and help celebrate these two significant days with us, by supporting some of the most vulnerable women and mothers in Haiti. Women in Haiti still face a 1 in 37 chance of dying during delivery in Haiti, but we're helping to reduce this! Why not join us this week, and make a special donation in honor of a mum or inspiring woman you know. Chocolates and flowers never last long, but a 'gift in kind' towards our Maternity work can have a life long impact. Please join with us again, so we can provide care to other women like Marie. Thanks for your continued kind support.
Our Maternity and Paediatric services, opened in April 2012, have continued to increase in use over the last few months, saving the lives of women and children by bringing pregnancy, childbirth, neonatal and paediatric care to some of the poorest communities in Haiti.
The mobile maternal health clinic has been operating in target communities twice a month and is now seeing an average of 80 women per clinic day. The majority of these are now for repeat antenatal visits, demonstrating that more women are taking the opportunity to access the recommended four antenatal visits; according to recent UNFPA statistics, 85% of women in Haiti attend one antenatal appointment, but only 54% return for more than one.
The number of surgically-assisted births (caesarean sections) presented at the hospital unit has increased since opening, from 42% of the deliveries in the first month to 58% in July 2012, as has the use of the neonatal unit for premature and complicated births. We are receiving referrals from other hospitals – both Government and private facilities – from throughout the region, and even beyond it in some cases. The reputation for high-quality neonatal, premature baby care, supported by excellent facilities and the only functional incubators in the region, is one which is increasing and of which we are very proud.
The hospital unit has seen 905 women for pre-natal appointments between March and August 2012, an average of 150 appointments per month. The number of women attending pre-natal appointments has been increasing steadily month-by-month, from 28 in March to 109 in August, so it can be anticipated that this trend will continue, as the service increases its presence in the target communities through positive feedback from previous clients.
Since the paediatric unit opened it has steadily been treating increasing numbers of patients, reaching 267 during September – an average of almost 9 patients per day, in a ten bed facility. The highest number of patients seen are in the 2-5 years age bracket, which is the critical age for the danger of death due to childhood illness. The majority of the treatments are for diarrheal disease and rheumatic illness; both of which have been identified as the leading causes of under-5 mortality, respectively accounting for 16% and 20% of child death, in Haiti.
We can't explain how grateful we are that you continue to support us, so that we can keep these vital services available to the communities in and around Cap Haitian, in Northern Haiti.
The expression ‘your help can truly save lives’ can perhaps become a little cliché in the charitable sector. Since the Maternity and Paediatric Unit opened in April, Haiti Hospital Appeal has witnessed the wonderful reality of that statement, not as a cliché or slogan, but as a living, lifesaving experience for many Haitians.
In one month alone our paediatric department saw 259 children, of which 65 were hospitalised, and in the space of just a few weeks we witnessed three babies whose lives have undoubtedly been saved by emergency c-section births in the operating theatre. Had these deliveries happened at home, it’s very possible that the children, and potentially their mother, could have died or been left with a lifelong disability.
We can't express how grateful we are for your wonderful generosity. It is because of people like you that HHA is providing the kind of care and facilities that some perhaps once thought impossible in northern Haiti. Of course, this success presents us with a new series of challenges. The high level of staffing and care now offered must be supported and we are in real need of regular donors, either individuals or groups who can partner with us to continue and grow the provision of maternity and paeditatric care. Please spread the word about HHA, and continue to support us in whatever way you can. 'Like' our Facebook page or 'Follow' us on Twitter for more information and updates.
We hope this short update will inspire you, and remind you of the real difference you have made to mothers and babies in some of the poorest communities in Haiti. Thank you.
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.
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
Thank you for your continued support with our Infant and Maternity Project in North Haiti. This project will enable us to establish a new era of safer childbirth in a region of over a million people.
Happy New Year
2010 was without doubt the hardest year Haiti Hospital Appeal has ever faced. The tragic events of the earthquake in the first weeks of last year shook the world, and for a few short months Haiti rested upon the hearts of many nations. Yet for HHA, we have been blessed with a support network of people who have remained broken for this nation beyond the initial trauma, and helped achieve some incredible things. For this commitment and support we are deeply grateful, and can’t possibly thank you enough for your love throughout the last 12 months, or put into words the difference you’ve made.
In January 2011, we held a conference with the major parties involved in the maternity project and planned how the service will be introduced to achieve the quality and scope of the service. This includes planning for the construction of a second maternity ward, the training for midwives and doctors and the preparation of medical facilities required for the unit.
We have completed the construction of the pre and post natal wards and delivery rooms, a surgical department for C-sections and emergency surgical needs and a neo-natal unit. Clean, smooth and reliable electrical supply has arrived and been successfully installed. We can now provide constant electricity that is vital for maternity and neo-natal care. We have also installed the ultrasound machine and started providing ultra-sound screening for anti natal consultations. It was such a memorable moment when Dr Adlin, who HHA had been supporting in Paris for 6 months on an ultra sound course, switched on this new machine and declared ‘by next week we’ll be able to provide ultra sound.’
The next stage will be equipping these units with incubators, surgical equipment and a blood bank, as well as training the Hatian staff for the use of the equipment and new services we are providing.
Mobile Health Clinic
Reaching into the heart of the community will be a major priority for this project. We will provide support for community midwives, providing them with birth kits designed to reduce risk and save lives. Together with Konbit Sante we are also launching a mobile health clinic which will provide screening, inoculation services to the local communities. Unfortunately, the vehicle to provide the mobile clinic is still in the container port waiting custom clearance.
In partnership with our maternity program, we will be launching the Paediatric Program. This will include both on site support at our hospital through a fully equipped neo-natal and paediatric unit, as well as community based care within rural areas and some of the poorest slums across the North. The Program will be providing vaccination, monitoring child development, nutritional support, nourishment programs for malnourished children, health education for families, and an inpatient and outpatient service.
Thanks again for your contributions you have helped changed the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Haiti.
The Haiti Hospital Appeal Team
For those who have been following our work more regularly via our web-site you'll have noticed that it's been a busy few months. It would be impossible to share everything in one update now, so please do take a look at our site.
However, to give you a little glimpse into the highs and lows of recent months we wanted to share one particular blog with you by some of our team who have been on the ground in Haiti...
'When I first came to Haiti I was struck by the tragic injustice of seeing an 11 year old girl called Julia die simply because the doctors didn’t have the basic equipment to save her. It was an image I’ll never forget, and one that changed my life forever. Yet since living in Haiti, the tragic loss of seeing children die has become all too much a part of weekly existence. So much so that at times the tragic health care situation here becomes almost ‘normal.’
In the last few weeks my heart has been broken afresh by the reality of what it is we’re called together to do. One of our children at Maison de Benediction had a seizure last week and was subsequently referred to the Government Hospital. The next day I went to visit this little one with a few friends who were visiting. It was my first time in the pediatric ward for several months. In some ways I’d forgotten just how tragic this little ward is, but also just how inspiring.
I was greeted by Dr Toussaint who took me to see the little boy. We walked through the dimly lit ward, surrounded by old rusty cots holding the fragile bodies of a host of malnourished and poorly children. When we arrived besides the bed of our little child, I looked as I have done many times into the eyes of Dr Toussaint to ask his prognosis. He looked at me with the same frustration and familiarity as he has done many times before. ‘The prognosis is poor’ he said. ‘He needs a CT scan but we don’t have one in the North. He needs some equipment to clear his lungs but we don’t have one.’ It was a repeat of my first experience in Haiti. An inspiring and highly skilled doctor denied the right to save a child’s simply because of a lack of equipment. ‘We know what to do’ he continued ‘but we just don’t have anything.’ The next day we were informed that the little boy had sadly passed away. If I’m honest it came as no great surprise, but was never the less a harrowing and emotional reminder of why we’re here, and the battle for justice we face. Unjustly the battle for this little one had been lost on earth.
Yet, that same day we finally had three containers released from customs which was a great joy! Some had been stuck in customs for several months. All were packed full of aid from different NGO’s to support our earthquake relief effort. Yet there was one that delivered a particularly meaningful gift that day – 5 incubators and 2 baby bed warmers…pieces of equipment we’ve only dared to dream about. I’ve just started reading a book with the speeches of Martin Luther King, in which he says ‘Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love.’ Amidst the tragedy of seeing another child die that day, came an act of love from another NGO which sought to correct that injustice which revolts against so many children in Haiti. This was more than the delivery of some equipment. This was a delivery of hope, of justice, of progress, of a battle won.
The next day after hours of carefully getting these out of containers using an army of Haitian men, Dr Toussaint arrived on site. As we took him into the room where we are storing these incubators his face lit up like a child on Christmas day. I’ve never seen an adult smile with such joy, hope, happiness, and fulfillment. We all knew just what a difference these pieces of equipment would make and just how many lives they would save! It was this doctor’s dream to see children in Haiti given the support they deserve. After years of work, this was an epic step closer to that dream being fulfilled. A dream of equality, a dream of life and hope and justice. A dream of our little hospital in some small way correcting the darkness which has revolted against this poor nation for too many years. Another act of justice made possible by you, our supporters.
This day highlighted the battles won and the battles lost in our call to fight for equality and justice. It’s a battle worth fighting though, and one we hope you’ll join us on.'
If you'd like to respond to this blog in some way please take the time to make a donation to our project, share this entry with some friends or family, or visit our web-site: www.haitihospitalappeal.org
Thank you for your continued support of our work!
Everyday there is more progress with the spinal injury patients who reside in what will eventually be the maternity ward in our hospital. I would like to share with you the story of Samuel, one of the heroic survivors of the earthquake who we care for. Samuel is a quadriplegic, perhaps one of the worst injured victims of the earthquake. After the earthquake he was completely paralysed, but has now gained some movement in his arms again. Despite the tragic fate that seemed to await him, Samuel now sits up, and with a little help pushes himself around the ward at short intervals when he can gather the strength. Whilst we begin to gradually transform the ward so it can be used for its originally purpose of maternity care, the service it is providing at the moment is an amazing and inspiring one.
Casualties with spinal injuries are uncared for in much of Haiti and this project brings hope and life to those who previously would have had no expectations for a future. A rehab unit is in planning to care for these patients in the long term so that the maternity and infant unit can be used for the purpose originally intended. A nurse working in the ward said:
‘Before the earthquake we had no rehabilitation centre in Haiti. It costs a lot of money, but every time someone gives their support it helps our people here. It is very important to have a rehabilitation centre. The people here faced death and no normal life. Because of this hospital they have strength, and some are discharged and have hope.’
As well as the progress in the lives of these patients, progress has been made in the long term aim to provide better health care for women and children, this week building work commenced on the final stages of the infant unit which will hopefully be finished within a matter of months. Plans for the maternity project are evolving, including the equipping of traditional birth attendants in the city of Cap Haitien with mobile phones for when they need advice and help.
Yesterday our health clinic was packed with mothers and their children as they waited for vaccinations, many mothers had two or three young children with them and your support is going to help fund an infant unit to care for these children in the future and other children like them around Cap Haitien.
On the six month anniversary of the tragic earthquake on January 12th we are launching a new campaign called 'We Won't Forget' on our main web site: www.haitihospitalappeal.org
Despite the promises of many, Haiti has already been forgotten it would seem by the majority of the world. We're making a stand this anniversary and calling all our supporters to declare that Haiti isn't forgotten! For those who remain skeptical about what aid actually does, I would encourage you to visit our new site that was launched a few weeks ago. It's packed full of stories and news about what you've achieved! As a small grass root NGO in Haiti you have made a difference through us. Spinal victims saved, tones of aid distributed, emergency clinic set up. Yet, there is still so much to do. As most of the world moves on and forget, we'd ask that today you don't.
Please take two minutes and visit our 'We Won't Forget' campaign! Thanks again for all your help at this difficult time and we look forward to working with you in helping to rebuild Haiti in the coming months.
To those of you who have been following our work in the last few years, you'll know that we've been seeking to complete a new Maternity Unit for the people of North Haiti. The good news is, that thanks to your help two of these buildings have been completed in the last few months and are now ready for action!
However, at the moment they are being used for a slightly different purpose than maternity care, through they are still offering new life. The news of the earthquake disaster that struck Haiti may have now faded from your televisions and papers, yet the urgent need still remains! Some of the most desperate victims who have been left forgotten are those who suffered severe spinal injuries, leaving many paralysed.
Before the earthquake spinal care in Haiti was non-existent, with most patients with spinal injuries being left to die. After the earthquake vast numbers of individuals were requiring urgent long term rehab support to get them through their devastating injuries. The Haiti Hospital Appeal subsequently responded to the need by allowing our finished maternity unit to house 20 paraplegic victims from the earthquake. This is a short term measure, as we still hope that these buildings will be used for their intended purpose in the next few months.
However, the strange reality is that though this new unit is not seeing new life born through babies, it is seeing life born in adults. Thanks to your support getting these buildings completed, we have seen individuals learn to walk again, others speak for the first time in months after the earthquake. People's lives are being re-built; many who have lost everything. One of our patients lost almost all her family including her husband, children and sisters. Another was only re-united for the first time yesterday with her husband and child who thought their beloved mother and wife had died. Lives and families are being transformed and saved, as many of these patients would have died without your help in providing this unit! Yesterday I also had the privilege of dropping our first patient home. She arrived after the earthquake unable to even sit up, completely bed bound. She left yesterday walking out the ward proudly as a woman of new life, with a gleaming smile upon her face when we dropped her home.
I would ask from the bottom of my heart that you continue to remember this desperate nation in their time of healing. The process for many is long and painful. Haiti Hospital Appeal have committed to doing all we can to see these patients supported, but we need your help! We're currently supporting 17 victims with severe spinal injuries, including providing care for their displaced family members. We are actively looking into building a specific spinal unit so our maternity care can get up and running soon. Hopefully the next time we write we'll have news of our first baby born at the unit you've helped build!
Thanks for your continued heart for our work. If you'd like to continue supporting us please visit www.haitihospitalappeal.org, where you can get more regular up to date information!
In the last month the HHA work on the ground has been a hub of activity. A greatly anticipated large UK team arrived in Haiti for a two week mission trip to help develop our work. As well as offering valuable support to our Children’s Home and Health Centre, the team’s passion and enthusiasm progressed onto the first of our hospital buildings. As you’ll see from the attached photos, our first ward is close to completion! After several years of being generously blessed by our loyal supporters, the dream of a new hospital finally truly starts to become true! The team have been tirelessly painting, tiling, plumbing and doing lots of other bits and bobs eagerly trying to get this ward as completed as possible before their departure in a few days. On behalf of all of us at HHA, and our staff on the ground in Haiti, thank you so much for drawing alongside us over the years in making this dream become a reality. We’re by no means finished, but the work achieved by this team thanks to the funds you’ve raised certainly marks our most positive step forward in this area of work! With only about £5,000 needed to complete this first ward, we’re confident within a month or so it will be finished.
Whilst the team have been in Haiti, (as you can see from the latest blog on our site), a new member of the team arrived - a little 5 month old baby with hydrocephalus who we named Grace, who’d been abandoned at the Government hospital. We were called to the hospital to see her by our medical director. When we arrived we found her lying in her own excrement in a room on her own, severely malnourished, and desperately weak. Thanks to our Children’s Home we were able to rescue Grace, and she’s now being offered the care she so desperately needs. Her arrival was a particularly powerful and moving experience for our volunteers on the ground, with the realisation of just how important the work they are doing on the building is. Had Grace received the appropriate medical support at birth, her life like so many other thousands of children in Haiti would have had a completely different outlook. Yet, as she rested in our home, her future very uncertain due to her condition, one minute up the track from our Children’s Home to the site of the hospital, other children watched on in excitement, helped paint, and enthusiastically joined with us in building Haiti a brighter future. In building future children like Grace a brighter hope, and the chance to be cared for as they deserve.
It’s incredible what a powerful difference this small team of people from the UK has made, and really that’s the story of the appeal as a whole. Small youth groups, schools, churches, families, or even individuals such as you who have captured something of the injustice of Haiti and decided to take a stand! It’s thanks to those people who have seen and acted that as you read this update, major life saving steps are being made to see our dream completed. By saying ‘our’ dream, we sincerely mean this. This dream belongs to everyone who has ever donated even as little as 1p to the appeal. It’s thanks to you that Grace has been saved from what the doctors described as probably death had we not responded, and its thanks to you that many other children’s lives will follow and be saved once these wards are completed.
Please continue to support us as together we seek to bring justice and hope to thousands of women and children.
For more information about our work please check out www.haitihospitalappeal.org, or feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the last 6 months I've had the privilege to witness firsthand the exciting work achieved by the generosity of our supporters through living in Haiti. Over the last month the roof to our Surgical Department has been completed, and the roof to our Paediatric and Delivery Ward started. It should be completed within the next few weeks!
The work of the Haiti Hospital Appeal continues to grow in Haiti. Along with the building of our new Hospital facility which you've generously supported, our new 4x4 ambulance service which started at the beginning of this year continues to serve some of Haiti's poorest and most desperate. Our clinic is expanding its services to now include a Gynaecologist and Dentist, and our new Children's Home for Special Needs children and children with HIV/AID's is growing week by week.
Yet, as well as seeing the incredible difference you've helped to make, we also witness firsthand the daily injustice and struggle of life here in the poorest country of the Western hemisphere. The particular challenge to us has been witnessing so many children in our Children's Home who have been left disabled, simply through a lack of appropriate health care at birth. 75% of births still take place at home in Haiti without any medical support, and one in 5 children still die before the age of 5. We've picked up mothers and children in our ambulance forced to give birth in horrendous conditions, proving life threatening to both mother and child. The need for our Paediatric and Maternity Ward continues to remain urgent. Each day we meet children whose lives could have been so different had they been born with the support they needed.
Each month we get a step closer to completing this dream, and offering thousands of mothers and children the care they deserve. However, we still have more to do and further to go before this work is fulfilled. Even in the current economic situation the world faces, I would urge you all to remember those people in countries like Haiti who are truly suffering at this time. Even the smallest donation can make such a huge difference, and without you or work would be impossible. Please take a look at the pictures attached of our building work so far, and a copy of our most recent newsletter which will explain more fully about what you've helped to support in the last year or so.
Many thanks for your continued support and generosity! Please continue to remember us, as we certainly remember you.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all those who have generously supported us. Many of you specifically helped us through the Global Giving Challenge at the end of 2008. Thanks to your kind support we raised over $5,000US which secured the project a prize of $2,500US. This support really will make the world of difference to us in Haiti, and we can’t possibly thank you all enough! Six weeks ago two UK Haiti Hospital Appeal workers moved to Haiti for the next year, and have already been encouraged to see firsthand the difference our supporters have helped make. Along with the encouragement of the work that has progressed, they’ve also been touched afresh with the reality of life in Haiti. A few weeks ago they had the opportunity with the Haiti Hospital Appeal’s new Ambulance to take a seriously sick boy called Mitch from the only existing Government run hospital in North Haiti to the Dominican Republic for some urgent care. Unfortunately the care Mitch needed could not be found in Haiti, and so we had to take him on a ten hour drive to a more suitable hospital. Had he not been able to receive this support he would have probably died. Tragically across Haiti many children are left to die due to inadequate medical support. 1 in 5 children don’t make it to their fifth birthday, and 75% of births still take place at home without any medical supervision. Mitch was fortunate enough to have the chance to go to the Dominican, but most don’t. The need for this new Paediatric and Maternity Unit is still urgent, and once completed will literally help save the lives of thousands of women and children. Thanks to your help we’ve progressed well with the building work in the last few months, but there’s still a long way to go. Please continue to support us in this urgent work. We pray and hope you may be encouraged by the difference you’ve already helped to make in Haiti, and inspired to continue helping many other children like Mitch in the future. Many thanks, the Haiti Hospital Appeal Team.