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Archive for April, 2009

By Jennifer Browning

For some mother’s in Haiti, this Mother’s Day will not be a day of celebration. In particularly in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the high rate of maternal mortality remains a challenge. Haiti’s statistics regarding maternal mortality are among the highest in the Caribbean: 1 out of every 37 female deaths is linked to a high risk pregnancy.

Photo by Jennifer Browning

Photo by Jennifer Browning

Project Medishare is working toward decreasing the maternal mortality rate in Haiti’s Central Plateau with our new Maternal Health Center which broke ground at the end of January. Thanks to the Greig Family, who completely funded the construction, women will have access to a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

Honor your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, stepmother, aunt, sister, or friend with a gift of $25 to Project Medishare. Your contribution will help with operating costs of the Maternal Health Center and make a difference by helping develop healthy mothers in Haiti.

For a gift of $25 or more, we will send a Mother’s Day card to a special woman in your life, letting her know a donation has been made in her honor. The women of Haiti will appreciate your thoughtful gift which will help them survive to raise healthy children.

This year Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10.To ensure that your note is mailed on time, we must receive your donation by Friday, May 1. Click here to make your donation now. Once you have donated, email Project Medishare’s Media Specialist, Jennifer Browning (jbrowning@projectmedishare.org) with the address(es) of those you are honoring so they may receive their special Mother’s Day card.

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By Jennifer Browning

On Tuesday, foreign donors and international financial institutions renewed their commitment to Haiti, pledging at least $324 million toward the country’s economic recovery over the next two years.

During the day long conference donors pledged to focus on better coordination of international support for the poverty-stricken nation. The money raised will be used to improve Haiti’s infrastructure such as building roads and highways. It will also be used to fight drug trafficking as well as generate up to 150,000 jobs.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Haiti was in danger of stalling but with the help of the United States and others willing to team together with Haiti to help the tiny Caribbean country see a brighter future. Clinton commented further that the United States in kind food contributions were not answer to Haiti’s hunger. The secretary of state emphasized the importance of environmental rehabilitation, agriculture, and infrastructure.

Hillary Clinton will travel to Haiti tomorrow to meet with Haitian President René Préval before attending the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Click here to read about the donor conference in today’s Miami Herald or here to read the secretary of state’s remarks at the Haiti Donor Conference over at Haiti Innovation.

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By Jennifer Browning

Today, World Health Day, marks the anniversary of the 1948 founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). This year’s focus is on the need to make hospitals and health facilities safe in disasters and other emergencies.

In Haiti, Project Medishare is dedicated to making sure its hospitals and clinics are safe. In 2006, a new hospital was built in partnership with Partners in Health in Thomonde and was able to ride out the three hurricanes that ravaged Haiti’s Central Plateau.

Currently, a new Maternal Health Center is being built in Marmont thanks to the Greig Family who financed the construction entirely. Construction began at the end of January and is scheduled for completion in June.

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By Jennifer Browning

PORT-Au-PRINCE, Haiti–Seventeen people arrived in Haiti yesterday as part of Project Medishare’s Neurosurgical team which were composed of neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthesiologists, pediatricians and students. The group was there to help children with various neurological problems such as hydrocephalus, micro-cephalic, brain tumors and spinal bifida.

The team began performing surgeries La Paix Hospital at shortly after 1 p.m. and performed 11 surgeries.

The team had been in Port-au-Prince two weeks ago for surgical assessment.

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By Jennifer Browning

Today the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent approved an amendment to the 2010 fiscal year budget resolution that would recommend international affairs programs be funded at President Obama’s request of $53.8 billion.

Both the House and Senate budget resolutions originally called for lower allocations to international affairs than the President outlined in February. The House Budget Committee resolution – which will not be allowed to be amended – recommends $48.5 billion for international affairs – a $5.3 billion cut from President Obama’s request. The Senate Budget Committee recommended $49.8 billion for the international affairs budget, a $4 billion cut. However, the Senate allowed amendments to its resolution on the floor.

Sens. John Kerry, D-MA, and Richard Lugar, R-IN, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, offered an amendment that restored the President’s $53.8 billion request for international affairs in the Senate’s resolution. The international affairs budget includes allocations for the majority of global health programs including those Project Medishare has in Haiti.

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By Shayla Hesse

BOUCANTIS, Haiti–While yesterday we took in the lay of the land and got acclimated to our new surroundings, today we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. After a fortifying breakfast we broke up into teams, each one focused on a specific patient population. We received a quick briefing and then climbed into the 4x4s. As it turned out, their off-roading capabilities proved absolutely essential to our conveyance to the clinic site. Perched atop a modest mountain, the clinic site seemed utterly remote. I was therefore somewhat surprised to see the throng of patients gathered when we pulled up.

Patients ranged in age from the suckling newborn to the wizened elder. The first patient that my team saw was one of the latter. He was old; that was the first thing I noticed. He had dementia which became apparent soon after. He looked gaunt and walked slowly over to us with his back hunched.

Bonjour.

Bonjour.

Sake pase, monsieur?

He spoke softly, explaining that he recently hasn’t been able to keep any food down. His face was stoic and his eyes, calm. Okay, I thought, a mild GI disturbance in an elderly man with age-related decline. His physical examination revealed a different story.

In his clothes he looked thin, but without them he was emaciated. His barrel chest, a likely product of his history of smoking, accentuated the prominence of each rib. His thoracic vertebrae were severely kyphotic, perhaps a complication of a past TB infection. His heartbeat was faint, indicating the presence of a pleural effusion. His vision was impaired by cataracts and adhering to his cornea was a whitish mass. Yet he complained of none of the above. Our team discussed his condition and had to accept the reality that we could not treat him for everything. His dementia and limited mobility imposed great obstacles to his care. The thought of sending him on foot tens of miles down a dusty, rocky road to the nearest hospital was absurd. On the other hand the situation, though dire, was not hopeless. Dr. Fournier pointed out that this man had options now that were never available before the work of Project Medishare. With a hospital in Thomonde, mobile clinics scattered throughout the countryside and designated health agents working in local communities, Project Medishare has established an efficiently stratified, vertically integrated system of healthcare that has had significant impact on the health of the Central Plateau. The old man we saw from Boucantis may or may not make it to the hospital in Thomonde with the help of the community health agent and our referral from the mobile clinic – demonstrating both the amount of need in the Central Plateau and the amount of progress that has been made.

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