Health Workers Rescue Ailing Mother and Child

Mélianne 2


story by INDRA SORIA
Communications & Fundraising Officer


Sometimes a helping hand reaches out at just the right moment.

In southeast Haiti, a young woman and her baby girl fell ill.  Both needed to be seen by a doctor, but 18 year old Mélianne was struggling to find help for herself and Robancia, her seven month old child. Not knowing where to turn, Mélianne chose to take natural medicine to alleviate the illness.  It didn’t work.

Weeks passed and the baby was fading, so too Mélianne.  She did approach a clinic but the lines were long and the lab tests were just too expensive.  So Mélianne continued to seek help from her mother, hoping that herbal remedies would work.  Her condition, along with the child’s, worsened.  The situation was dire and both likely would have perished had HHI’s community agents not come to her village and found them both in a critical condition.

Mélianne 1


These Multidisciplinary Community Agents are part of Kore Fanmi – a joint project between Heart to Heart International, the Government of Haiti and UNICEF.  The overall job of the CHWs is to connect people living in the remote and rugged southeast of Haiti with existing community services, including health care.  Most recently, these agents have been criss-crossing the mountains of southeast Haiti providing aid in border camps and educating communities about the arrival of the Zika virus.

On a recent community visit, agents discovered Mélianne and Robancia.  Acting quickly, they brought both to a health clinic to be seen immediately by medical staff and arranged for the lab testing to be done for free.

Both mother and child were found to be suffering from severe malnutrition.

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The clinic staff did a full check up and ran additional tests for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases that are common in Haiti.  In addition, mother and child were put into a nutrition program.

The outcome for Mélianne and her baby would have been quite different had the agents not paid a visit to the village and found the mother and child in time.


HHI’s Multidisciplinary Community Agents in Haiti work every day to provide access to healthcare for mothers like Mélianne and so many others.

Support their work. Donate.





Building a Healthy Future in Haiti

A joint project between Heart to Heart International and BD continues to make a positive impact in Haiti, in part by providing training for healthcare workers in communities across the country.
What follows is a guest post from a member of the most recent BD Volunteer Service Team recently returned from Haiti.

stephanieHeart to Heart International continues to build an empowered and healthy Haiti through its training programs to address basic human needs

By Sushmita Bandopadhyay, BD VST member

“I want my community to be saved from malaria. I am the only one in my family who has stepped forward to fight it. My parents are happy that I am able to help Ayiti,” says Stephanie (pictured above), a community health agent who got involved in this year’s healthcare worker training in Thiotte, Haiti.

There are a number of young people like Stephanie who are committed to improving basic healthcare situation in Haiti. They walk miles to attend training on water, sanitation, hygiene and infectious diseases that will be exercised to address the community health challenges. After the training, she will now be able to do temperature and blood pressure checks for her community.

Thiotte 025

The healthcare worker training was conducted by BD volunteers in Thiotte and in Belle Anse. Doctor OP Kansal, a BD volunteer, trained the participants on safe child delivery techniques in resource-limited settings. The group also went through a simulation exercise to better understand the concept.  As compared to last year’s training, this year’s curriculum distinctly included the WASH program that will help the community health agents greatly.  A staff member of HHI agreed that this training conducted by volunteers is very appropriate in this time when cholera seems to be prevalent in parts of Haiti, and added that the training manuals are a great reference for the health workers.

For some months now, HHI has been working on Kore Fanmi ­- a pilot program of the Haitian Government, funded by The World Bank in partnership with UNICEF, that intends to improve the provision of basic services to poor and vulnerable families in Haiti.  Several young and old people have been chosen to be a part of this movement who are undergoing training for Kore Fanmi.  Each trainer is responsible for a hundred families and makes regular visits to ensure family needs are understood and addressed well. Trainings and awareness workshops are being conducted across parts of the country and HHI is now working in Belle Anse in its second phase of the project.  Says John, a Kore Fanmi agent who attended the five-day workshop, “This year’s training has increased my knowledge and I feel I can contribute towards a healthier life in Haiti.”

Dr. OP

Over the years, such trainings have taught quality improvement methods to help communities manage the problems with confidence. For example, people are now eager to apply the cholera trainings and make progress. Health agents express an interest in attending such trainings which help them make a real change in the environment. Empowered with more knowledge and regular trainings, the community health care workers are daring to dream now. “My dream for Haiti is that every home has a ‘latrine’. I want to contribute towards this dream for my country,” says Andre, a participant with a twinkle in his eye.

These types of training programs and awareness workshops remain critical and are aiding communities in Haiti to live a better quality of life.

To Help the Most Vulnerable in Haiti

Heart to Heart International is currently working with UNICEF on a program entitled Kore Fanmi  in the southeast of Haiti – a multi-phase, multi-year project to connect remote communities and families with basic medical and other services.

UNICEF recently featured the Kore Fanmi program (see below for excerpts) and the technology used to survey those living in the most difficult-to-reach areas.

(c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Nybo

A Heart to Heart International community agent, along with a UNICEF representative, conducts a survey in a remote area of Haiti. Photo courtesy: UNICEF Haiti/2014/Nybo


Thomas Nybo reported the story for UNICEF:
Bertha Pierre is a 49-year-old grandmother living high atop a mountain in a one-room shack with five family members. Their hut is a three-hour hike from the nearest town, and the family has called it home since a flood destroyed their house a year ago.

“Life has just been very difficult since last year, May 23rd,” she says. “That’s when we were hit with a flood that washed away all the topsoil, and killed all our farm animals. Since then, it has been very difficult to make ends meet. We have nothing. We have no land and we have no animals.”

But, a pilot programme is being launched with the aim of improving the lives of people just like her: the most-vulnerable Haitians, living in the hardest-to-reach areas. It’s called “Kore Fanmi” — which means “family support” in Haitian Creole. It’s a programme of the government of Haiti, which was started two years ago in partnership with the World Bank and UNICEF.

Heart to Heart International is implementing the plan on the ground.  For months, community agents organized by HHI traveled the roads and paths through the mountains of SE Haiti interviewing people and documenting the needs of families household by household.
HHI’s Samuel Desruisseaux, who is the Kore Fanmi Communal Coordinator for the Anse-a-Pitres area, is quoted in the story:

“…one of the positive impacts I’ve already seen, during the socio-economic survey, once the community understood the point of Kore Fanmi, to reach the most vulnerable, they went to find other families, to make sure everybody was included,” he says. “They refused to let anybody be excluded. The community is very motivated. They see it as their programme, and it will bring a lot of positive change.”


Data collection during a Kore Fanmi survey is captured on a tablet. Photo courtesy: UNICEF Haiti/2014/Nybo

Access the full story at UNICEF Connect to learn more about the Kore Fanmi program & the technology used to reach these vulnerable populations in some of the most remote areas of Haiti.