Ailing Pregnant Woman Aided by Haiti Med Team

Along the remote southern coast of Haiti, a pregnant woman needed rapid medical care.  Her blood pressure was too high.  This was an emergency situation and she needed to get to a hospital as soon as possible.  Fortunately, one of our Haitian Medical Teams was in the right place at the right time to help.

Woman in Boat

On the beach in Belle Anse, Haiti, a woman is helped into a life-preserver as she prepares to travel by boat to a hospital in Jacmel due to complications with her pregnancy.

 

This happened on the day one of our medical teams held clinic in Corail Lamothe, a small village a few miles inland from Haiti’s Caribbean coast.  Our medical teams in Haiti hold clinic days on a rotating basis in 16 locations throughout the island nation and Corail Lamothe is one of these spots.  It’s remote and lacking in any basic services.

Our team this day consisted of two doctors and two nurses – Drs. Jackenson Davilmar and Kethia Lamour, and nurses Ludnie Janvier and Nathalie Pierre.  Haitians all, they provide direct patient care along with our other Haitian Medical Teams to a population of approximately a quarter-million people in the remote and rugged mountains of southeast Haiti.

 

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys.  Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for both the mother and the baby  – Mayo Clinic

 

When the pregnant woman arrived at the clinic, she was full-term, and just about ready to deliver her baby. Our team knew she was in trouble.  She had very high blood pressure.  A pregnancy disorder called Preeclampsia, without quick treatment, can have dire results for both the mother and child.  She needed more care than our team could provide on the spot, she needed to get to a hospital and she needed to get to one quickly.  The problem – how to get her there?

 

Corail Lamothe pin

This satellite image shows Corail Lamothe and Belle Anse on Haiti’s southern coast. The city of Jacmel, the location of the nearest hospital, is a distance of about 30 miles by sea.

 

The quickest and simplest way to get her to a hospital would be by boat.  The rock-strewn roads in this remote area of Haiti are difficult to drive, to say the least, and taking the woman by vehicle could have taken hours and would have been terribly uncomfortable.

 

One of our Haitian Medical Teams once helped to deliver a baby on the side of a road

Our team loaded the woman into a vehicle and arranged for a boat to meet them on the beach in the town of Belle Anse, about a 40 minute drive from the clinic site.  Splitting the cost with the Corail Lamothe Federation, a local community group, we hired a boat and driver to serve as a waterborne ambulance, and accompanied by another nurse, the ailing mother made the roughly 30-mile trip by sea to reach the city of Jacmel and the new Hospital Saint-Michel.

 

Newborn Mother of baby

 

As the photos show – once she reached the hospital the woman gave birth to healthy baby. At last report both are doing well.  If it hadn’t been for the quick action by our team, the results may have turned out poorly for both mother and child.

 

You can support our work in Haiti.

Please donate to expand access to health for people like this mother and her child.

 

 

 

In Haiti, A Future Shines at the End of the Road…

At the end of the road in Cascade Pichon, Haiti, a little bit beyond the Heart to Heart International clinic and just past the “hotel” there is a path heading to the left, away from the waterfall.

cascade pichon   5I recently took this path to check on the construction of a new school building that sits atop a hill, overlooking a valley and more mountains.  I was in Cascade Pichon, this time, showing a colleague around Upper Pichon, where the clinic is located.  Following us up the hill were four boys who are always together – Antionne, Alex, and brothers Deswin and Fresno.

I’ve developed quite an appreciation for Deswin.  He’s very bright and carries little notebooks with him that he uses to teach himself English, French and Spanish.  This 10-year-old is an immense help and is always eager to let me practice Creole with him and to teach me new words.  Besides Fresno, Deswin has two older brothers who walk a few hours to go to to school in Belle Anse and a sister that lives and attends school in Port-au-Prince.   Deswin and his brothers live in Cascade Pichon with their mother. Their father works across the border in the Dominican Republic.

Deswin says to me, “This is going to be the best school in all of Pichon.”

On this particular day, while my colleague tried to find a cell signal at the top of the hill, Deswin says to me, “This is going to be the best school in all of Pichon.”   I thought to myself, “Well, that can’t be too difficult… the school you have now is a tiny one-room building with overflow benches outside under a tarp that has seen better days. The school is so small that hundreds of children don’t go to school because there is simply no room.”

Instead, I said, “Oh really? Will you go to school here?”  Deswin responded, “I may go to school here or in Belle Anse, but I would like to go here.”

I asked him why he would prefer to attend the school in Cascade Pichon and his reply surprised me. He said that he would prefer to go to school in Pichon because of the volunteers that come there. He explained how it gives him the opportunity to learn more English that will give him more opportunities later.

In my head this is where the work that we do in Haiti comes full circle. Heart to Heart International’s development work in the southeast of Haiti started in Cascade Pichon with a federation, just like all of our work.

A federation is essentially a community civic organization. Federations take ‘ownership’ of the needs in their communities and HHI works with these federations.

The first essential need the Cascade Pichon community wanted to address was healthcare. The federation donated the land for our clinic in Cascade Pichon a few years ago. Once built, the clinic was staffed solely by ex-pat volunteers.  Now, a Haitian Medical Team works in the clinic and is supplemented by volunteers.  Since the clinic is owned by the federation, the federation keeps half of the consultation fees incurred from patients coming to the clinic.

In 2013, the Cascade Pichon Federation decided it was time to start addressing the next big need – Education.  The federation purchased land for the school and then, through building partnerships, Heart to Heart International helped to facilitate the building of the school, working in coordination with the Haitian government which has agreed to send teachers to instruct the children.  Hopefully, the building will be completed, staffed and operational this Fall.

I think this is what Development is. And it doesn’t happen quickly.  But I can’t wait to see what Deswin is doing in 10 years, to see how he is impacting Haiti because of decisions being made today by elders in his community, supported by HHI and its volunteers.

A few years ago, Deswin’s future certainly looked different. He didn’t have access to healthcare, he didn’t have access to a school in his community, and he didn’t have access to volunteers coming to his village to widen his world-view and let him expand his own horizons and quite literally alter his own future.  Now he does.

– Julie