Archive for the ‘Maternal Health Center’ Category

Dr. Gerarde Mondesir conducts a prenatal exam for 24-year-old Jesula Alexander at the clinic in Marmont. Upon opening, the maternal health center will provide women in the Central Plateau a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. "I am so happy about the maternal health center opening," Alexander said. "I hope it is ready by the time I have my baby so that I don’t have to travel far to have my baby and receive healthcare. I can have my baby here." Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Jean Vasula, 17, sits with her 2-month-old son Maté at the clinic in Marmont waiting to see the doctor. Here doctors see everything from pediatrics to adult medicine and for now, even provides family planning as well as prenatal and postnatal exams.

Thanks to the Greig Family, who completely funded the construction of the Maternal Health Center, and MedShare who donated all of the medical equipment, women in the Central Plateau are closer to having access to a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

A grant provided by Ralph Lauren is assisting with upstart costs such as staff salaries. Currently, Project Medishare is recruiting and interviewing midwives, nurses and other personnel for the center.

Vasula said while she was pregnant with Maté, she visited the Marmont clinic each month for her prenatal care. She said she is excited that there will be a clinic dedicated to women.

“The new maternal health clinic will be so good for [women in the community],” Vasula said. “Right now, here in Marmont we have to depend on the hospital in Thomonde. If we need a test, we have to go to Thomonde; or if we have any complications we have to go to Thomonde or maybe even further in Hinche. I am glad the maternal center is opening here because it will serve the whole community and all women here will have access.”

In Haiti, and particularly in the 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.

Haiti’s poor suffers by far the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Western Hemisphere. According to UNICEF, out of 100,000 live births, 670 Haitian women died of pregnancy-related causes in 2006.

Familiar with complications that can come with childbirth, Vasula hopes by having a maternal center in the community, less women will lose their babies during birth.

“It will help because with me, I had trouble during my pregnancy,” Vasula, who had her baby in Thomonde, said. “If I had my baby at home like many women do here, I would have lost my baby.

Vasula said when she was going into labor with Mate, she was at home with a mid-wife, but there were complications. Her family found a way to get her to Thomonde where she eventually had a C-section. While the maternal health center won’t be performing surgeries like C-sections, the medical staff there will be able to monitor the delivery and send women like Vasula to Thomonde for emergencies.

Gillef Mieloudes, 33, gave birth to her son Yadley at home. She said she was lucky that she didn’t have any complications.

Mieloude who lives in Denizrad situated between Thomonde and Marmont went to Thomonde for her prenatal checkups each month and planned to give birth at home, with the help of a midwife. But by the time the midwife showed up she had already had the baby.

She said she is happy knowing the maternal health center will open soon so that women in her community will have the services they need.

“When the maternal health center opens, if any women have complications with their pregnancy then they will know that there is a place for us to go,” Mieloude said. “Right now women in my community rely on Thomonde for the things that we need when it comes to our health. It will be so nice to have a place that is for women only.

The new maternal health center will be equipped with a full laboratory, incubators, examination and observation rooms thanks to a generous equipment donation provided by MedShare. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Jacque Balde, an auxiliary nurse for the Ministry of Health at the Marmont Clinic said there is a lot of interest in the maternal health center.

For now women go to the clinic in Marmont to receive women’s health services, and the new maternal health center will allow the Marmont clinic to focus more on pediatric and adult medicine.

“This is important that the people here will have such service, a good service in their home in Marmont,” he said. “When the maternal health center opens it will allow us to organized the Marmont clinic better so we can focus on pediatric and adult medicine.”

Balde is all too aware of complications that can come with childbirth. A few months ago, his wife suffered from eclampsia and gave birth to their son two months early.

“She gave birth at Hinche but there were no incubators,” he said. “They wrapped up our baby and kept him close to my wife, but at seven months you need an incubator. When I saw the incubator at the maternal health center it made me think of my son. If there had been an incubator at Hinche, it could have saved the life of my child.”

As the field coordinator for Marmont, Balde also organizes Project Medishare’s community health agents to go out into the community. As soon as he gets word that the center will open, it will be his job to educate the community health agents to let people know about the maternal health center and about the updated medical equipment available for the women in the community.

Project Medishare internist, Dr. Gerarde Mondesir said a big problem right now is that many of the women come to the Marmont clinic for their prenatal follow-up, but then they will go give birth somewhere else like Thomonde or in Hinche.

“The doctors and midwives there have never seen them before and have no clue about how their pregnancy has been the past nine months,” she said. “I think that it is important to have a maternal health center here, because if we detect a possible problem during their prenatal visit, we will know it and it will be on their file when they come in to give birth. We will be able to follow-up with them better because all of their care is happening in one place.”

Dr. Mondesir said it is also essential that women in Marmont will have a center in their community where they can give birth. She hopes by having the maternal health center, less women will have their babies at home. And she feels this will help decrease the maternal mortality rate in the community of Marmont.

“Sometimes the women live very far and getting them on the road and then all the way to Hinche or all the way to Thomonde is very difficult for them,” Dr. Mondesir said. “When the women realized how long it will take to get to the hospital, they just prefer to stay at home and have the baby there. I think that the maternal health center will also help decrease the maternal mortality rate here in this community. While there will be some mothers who still have their babies at home because they can’t make it here in time, I believe more women will come here knowing that there is a place close and someone here who can help them.”

The maternal health center is scheduled to open this spring.

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By Jennifer Browning

Today marks one year since a powerful earthquake devastated Haiti causing widespread death and destruction. That day, in less than 40 seconds, millions of lives were changed forever.

In less than 40 seconds, millions of peoples lives changed in Haiti after a 7.0 earthquake struck a year ago today.

Just 20 hours after the earthquake, Project Medishare volunteer doctors, nurses and emergency personnel touched down in Port-au-Prince. They were among the first to respond to the disaster. Over the past year more than 5,000 doctors and nurses have joined us in treating more than 75,000 patients.

While Haiti has faced a hurricane, flooding and cholera, Project Medishare has continued to stand by the Haitian people in our mission to improve medical services in Haiti. But things are worse here in Haiti today than they were a day after the earthquake.

After Project Medishare transitioned from the field hospital to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM), the hospital staff there have treated over 45,000 patients, provided over 10,000 emergency room visits and performed an estimated 200 surgeries each month.

Not only is HBMPM Haiti’s only critical care and trauma facility, it also continues to operate the only pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU/PICU) and spinal cord injury unit.

A Project Medishare nurse evaluates a child at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, currently Haiti's only critical care and trauma facility. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Through our Amputee Rehabilitation Program we have fitted over 200 children and adult patients with lifesaving prosthetic limbs. Thanks to the Knights of Columbus, who have joined us in our quest to provide prosthetic limbs to Haiti’s amputees, we will be able to provide prosthesis and therapy for children. As these children grow, we will be able to fit them with up to three prosthesis including two years of therapy.

Project Medishare’s training and education programs for HBMPM medical staff are also moving forward with a generous grant from the American Red Cross. Today University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine’s Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., and Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., are meeting here in Port-au-Prince with leaders from the American College of Surgeons international program and other universities to coordinate the education and training of critical care health professionals in Haiti.

Tomorrow, architectural plans that will double the 45 beds at HBMPM and add an education center to train Haitian health professionals in critical care will be finalized. This will help us achieve the long-term goal in making HBMPM and its Haitian medical staff self-sustainable.

Project Medishare’s existing Community Health Program continues to serve over 100,000 in the Central Plateau. Through this program community health agents have been essential in battling cholera in and around the community along the Artibonite River. Armed with bullhorns and packets of oral-rehydration therapy, as well as donations of bleach and soap, our teams initiated a community education campaign. Our community doctors and nurses are also working at the Cholera Treatment Center in Mirebalais where we have treated over 10,000 patients suffering from this disease.

Project Medishare community health nurse Wiseline Celestine uses a bullhorn to educate people in Thomonde about cholera. Project Medishare's health agents were vital in educating the people in order to prevent cholera in their communities. They are also conducting additional home visits since the epidemic occurred. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

In the coming months, Project Medishare will celebrate the opening of the Akamil Production Facility in Thomonde and the Maternal Health Center in Marmont.

The final pieces are being put in place to finalize the Akamil Facility. Ground breaking began June 2007 for the construction of the facility, but final construction and equipment installment was delayed after earthquake. When production begins, it will mean so much to rural Haiti and those Project Medishare serves in the commune of Thomonde.

Thanks to the Greig Family, who completely funded the construction of the Maternal Health Center, women in the Central Plateau are closer to having access to a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

With the ongoing support of volunteers and friends around the world, Project Medishare has accomplished so much in the past year.

There is still critical need in Haiti today. Today, Project Medishare remembers those victims who perished or were injured in the earthquake.

To show your support Text “Save” to 501501 to donate $5 or click here to make an online gift to assist Project Medishare in continuing lifesaving work in Haiti.

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By Jennifer Browning

Project Medishare’s future is mapped out in the most recent issue of the University of Miami’s Medicine. The magazine’s special edition focuses on how the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and its partnering organizations like Project Medishare and the UM Global Institute rushed to the aid of Haiti’s earthquake victims.

Fostering a Healthy Future” takes a look at Project Medishare’s various programs between Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince and Haiti’s Central Plateau where the community health and development program has been operating for over 10 years.Before the earthquake, Project Medishare was getting ready to celebrate the completion of two major projects, the Akamil production facility and a new maternal health center. The earthquake delayed the opening for both projects, however Project Medishare is determined to continue efforts to improve healthcare in rural Haiti through these programs as well as through the critical care and rehabilitation hospital in Port-au-Prince.

Click here to read the full article in Medicine, or click here to browse through the entire 2010 Summer Edition.

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A mother waits outside a Project Medishare clinic in Casse located in the Central Plateau. In light of maternal mortality rates, Project Medishare is focusing on women and children's health through the Community Health Program. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

In Haiti, 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. Within Haiti, the Central Plateau has the highest maternal mortality rates of all.

Project Medishare has been continually working toward decreasing the maternal mortality rate in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Construction of our new Maternal Health Center was completed at the end of December.  Thanks to the Greig Family, who completely funded the construction, women in the Central Plateau are closer to having access to a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. Currently, we are still in need of funding to provide necessary equipment for the Maternal Health Center before it can become operational.

In light of these maternal mortality rates, Project Medishare is focusing on women and children’s health. Through the Community Health Program, our local medical staff provides vaccinations, as well as iron for all women between 15-49 years old, targeting pregnant women. In 2009, Project Medishare provided complete vaccination coverage to 2,175 pregnant women and to 2,718 women between 14-49 years of age.

Since the beginning of our Community Health Program in 2003, our local medical staff has also reached out to pregnant women to see that they receive pre-natal care. And between 2003 and 2009, Project Medishare increased the number of pre-natal visits for pregnant women from no pre-natal visits to an average of three visits for each woman, ensuring a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.

Among other things Project Medishare  does with women within the Community Health Program, each local Community Health Agent holds a monthly  “Mother’s Club” meeting. During these meetings, the Community Health Agent educates and discusses specific subjects with the women such as family planning, parenting, child abuse, schooling of children, hygiene and nutrition (health maintenance), and home vegetable gardening to name a few.

Darline and Martine moved to Casse with their younger sister and their two children two weeks after the earthquake. They came to the Central Plateau to live with their stepfather who is providing them shelter. These sisters and their children receive healthcare services from the Community Health Program. Project Medishare's population in the Central Plateau has expanded since the earthquake. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

With the recent migration of earthquake victims from Port-au-Prince, Project Medishare’s population in Thomonde has increased by 29 percent. In Marmont, our population increased by 18 percent. This increase places a strain on our Community Health Program which was already financially stressed before the earthquake.

This Mother’s Day we ask that you honor the women we serve in the Central Plateau by making a donation to help us continue improving healthcare services to women. For each gift of $25, 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.

What a great way to honor a special woman in your life by donating towards the improvement of women’s health.The women of Haiti will appreciate your thoughtful gift, which will allow us to continue our important work and help women survive to raise healthy children.

Honor your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, stepmother, aunt, sister, or friend with a gift of $25 to Project Medishare. Your contribution will help us continue improving healthcare for women and children in rural Haiti while making a difference by helping develop healthy mothers in Haiti.

This year Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9. To ensure that your note is mailed on time, we must receive your donation by Wednesday, April, 28. Click here to make your donation now. Once you have donated, email Project Medishare at info@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 the Huffington post today Berlotte Israel and Margaret Satterthwaite tell readers that solidarity for women rights’ in Haiti must start today–International Women’s Day.

Israel and Satterthwaite ask leaders of Haiti and those who join the Caribbean country in the rebuilding efforts to focus on empowering Haitian women. The two urge that we must not only meet the women of Haiti’s immediate needs for safety and shelter, but work towards giving these women a voice to be heard in the long term. Access to education and to improved maternal health are just a few ways to do this.

As part of aligning with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Project Medishare is dedicated to helping empower women in rural Haiti.

Thanks to the Greig Family, construction of the new Maternal Health Center in Marmont was near completion when the earthquake rocked Haiti. As soon as the building is deemed safe, we will work towards equipping the center. This important facility will help women in our community have better access to maternal health.

When the maternal health center becomes fully operational it will be open 24 hours a day/seven days a week and will have trained staff available and living in the connecting residence. The center will focus on providing the full package of women’s health services, including reproductive health education and services, family planning, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, and prevention of mother to child transmission (PTME).

This is just one of the many ways Project Medishare continues to show our commitment to the women of Haiti.

To read Israel and Satterthwaite’s article on the Huffington Post click here.

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By Jennifer Browning

The end of the year is near, but there is still time to make your tax-deductible donation of $25, $50, $100 or more to Project Medishare. This has been another successful year for Project Medishare and those we serve in Haiti’s Central Plateau. We have been thankful that mother nature gave some reprieve and helped Haiti avoid season devastated by hurricanes.

The Akamil Facility in Thomonde is scheduled to begin operation in January.

With the weather cooperating, Project Medishare is happy to announce the finalized construction of the Akamil Facility in Thomonde! For many years, our local staff of 95 people from Thomonde, Marmont and Casse provide urgently needed healthcare to their communities. These dedicated workers provide the only primary healthcare to 85,000 people–despite the lack of adequate facilities and difficult working conditions.

The new Akamil Facility will allow Project Medishare to do so much more. We’re ready to combat childhood malnutrition affecting more than 50 percent of children in these communities. With the facility beginning operation in January, the locally produced, highly nutritious meal called Akamil will begin opening doors in Thomonde not only in the fight against malnutrition, but in the economic welfare of the community. We are so thankful to the Caporella Family, the Berlin Family Foundation, Coral Gables Congregational Church, UM Rotaract Club, South Florida Rotary Clubs and Rotary International, Center for Disease Control, Auto Gov, AkzoNobel, DSM and donors like you who are making the opening of this facility a reality.

In addition to the Akamil Facility, Project Medishare accomplished much more in 2009.

  • Our community health agents provided over 10,000 home visits and held over 430 “rally posts” where children were monitored for signs of malnutrition and received vaccinations.
  • We renovated the Ministry of Health clinic in Marmont, expanding our services to more than 15,700 people.
  • We completed construction of the Maternal Health Center in Marmont, thanks to the Greig Family.
  • Our agronomist provided training to local farmers and women at our trial

    Agriculture is a major component of Project Medishare's plan in helping battle malnutrition in Haiti's Central Plateau. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

    farm and in the community and established five vegetable nurseries in the nearby surrounding communities of Cadichon, Savane Moise, Calabate and Savane Longue.

None of this could have been accomplished without the support of the friends, donors, and volunteers who have embraced Project Medishare’s mission in Haiti’s Central Plateau–to provide and achieve quality healthcare and development services for all.

But we cannot rest. Looking ahead Project Medishare urgently needs  help to:

  • Prepare to provide 5,000 children with oral rehydration solution to treat diarrhea, which still needlessly kills countless children in Haiti. (Project Medishare treated more than 2,000 last year for worms and other illnesses associated with poverty and lack of clean water, but the need has outpaced our current efforts.)
  • Expand the pediatric neurosurgery program from two to four trips this year – Last year we evaluated over 100 children and operated on 45 – most being life-saving surgeries. But many didn’t get the attention they needed. We must do better in the coming year.
  • Provide equipment and medical supplies to the new Maternal Health Center in Marmont.
  • Continue to expand the sustainable agricultural training program between Marmont and Thomonde. In addition to these important projects, we need funds to repair a water cistern in Marmont, so there will be access to safe drinking water.

Project Medishare is still in need of donations to continue this important work in Haiti. Eighty-five percent of your donated dollar goes to directly to programs and services of our organization, so your donated dollar goes a long way.

So during this holiday season, please remember Project Medishare and the people of Haiti’s Central Plateau and then click here to give the most generous tax-deductible contribution you can to help us continue our life-saving work.

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During a prenatal exam in Savanne Perdu, Dr. Tisha Titus and a Morehouse Medical student uses a portable doppler to allow their patient to hear her baby's heartbeat. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

During a prenatal exam in Savanne Perdu, Dr. Tisha Titus and a Morehouse Medical student uses a portable fetal doppler to allow their patient to hear her baby's heartbeat. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Tisha Titus, MD, MPH

After several hours of rapid fire pregnant women in search of their first, and potentially only, prenatal visit, there is one patient for this day that stands out in my mind. I will wonder what has happened to her for months and maybe even years after returning home. I would like to say that this remembrance is due to the stellar care that I was able to provide to her and her baby or my great clinical skills that caught the often missed rare diagnosis, but this is not the case. She stands out in my mind for what I was not able to do for her.

She was in her early twenties and had come in the first trimester of her first pregnancy with the usual complaints of fatigue and lower abdominal pain. As it is not uncommon for dates to be off by several months, I began to feel her belly and watched as she winced when I pressed near her pelvis. Through the interpreter I asked her to tell me about the pain – where was it, how bad was it, did it hurt all of the time? She pointed to her left side and I apologized as I began to feel that area to sort out what I was dealing with. A mass that caused considerable discomfort. With her positive pregnancy test, my options quickly all converged to an ectopic pregnancy.

I know what to for an ectopic, but I had no idea how to get it accomplished in the environment of a bush clinic with nearly no resources an absolutely no capability for urgent surgery. After some quick discussion we found the referral form to send her to the nearest hospital and a second local interpreter to discuss this with her. She had come to the clinic with other family and her children were at home being tended to, but before she was willing to go to the hospital, she needed to find her sister and the children that had come with them and then head home to make arrangements to have all of the children watched. Transportation was another issue – she was going to walk home and then to get back to a main road to try to find a ride to the hospital.

The urgency of the situation was explained several times by the interpreter, but she held firm that her family needed to be tended to first and her looming medical crisis would have to wait. I had no other option but to hand her the hospital referral slip and beg to her to go as soon as possible knowing very well that she may not go at all, or may rupture and die on the way.

This was the only ectopic pregnancy, but definitely not the only concerning encounter regarding prenatal care. Many of the women were having their first prenatal visit well into their third trimester and a fair number of them also had a sexually transmitted infection or urinary tract infection requiring treatment. Many of them were planning on have a midwife assisted home birth, but in a number of instances this was not appropriate because of the high risk for complications due to fetal presentation or previous c-section.

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