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.

Mélianne 3


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.





An Urgent Call for Access in Syria

At the 5th anniversary of the Syrian War, HHI has joined with more than 100 humanitarian agencies calling for immediate and sustained humanitarian access in Syria.  


Joint Statement

As the parties to the conflict in Syria resume talks to end a war that now enters its sixth horrific year, there is renewed hope for peace. For an end to the suffering of millions of the innocent.

Two months ago our organizations appealed for urgent access to all those in desperate need inside Syria: for the lifting of sieges; for the full protection of civilians. Today, there are some encouraging signs of progress. The cessation of hostilities has allowed humanitarian organizations to rush more food and other relief to communities desperate for help.

But access has to go beyond a temporary lifting of sieges and checkpoints and allowing more aid convoys to move.

Humanitarian access and freedom of movement of civilians in Syria has to be sustained. It has to be unconditional. And it should include access to all people in need by whatever routes necessary.

The parties to this conflict and their international sponsors must from now on guarantee

  • Full access for humanitarian and medical workers to assess the wellbeing of civilians in all communities and treat those who are sick and injured without obstacle or restriction.

  • Allowing all humanitarian aid, as required by international humanitarian law, to reach, unimpeded, those who urgently need it – including medical supplies, surgical equipment, and nutritional necessities.

  • Support for an urgently needed nationwide immunization campaign for children.

  • These are practical actions that would mean the difference between life and death. All parties to the conflict can agree on them, now.

And in doing so, they can take another step to peace. Peace for Syria.
The peace that Syrians so desperately deserve.


Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International
Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
Richard Allan Director, C.E.O., The MENTOR Initiative
Steen Andersen, UNICEF Denmark
Nancy A. Aossey, President & CEO, International Medical Corps
Bernt G. Apeland, ED UNICEF Norway
Dr. Mahmoud Aswad, Syrian Expatriate Medical Association
Stephan Bauman’s President of World Relief
Dr. Gudrun Berger, Executive Director, UNICEF Austria
Tomaž Bergoč, Executive Director, Slovenska fundacija za UNICEF Big Heart Foundation
Rod Brooks, President and CEO, Stop Hunger Now
David Bull, Unicef UK
Nan Buzard Executive Director, ICVA
Teresa Casale, Global Communities
Jonny Cline, Executive Director, UNICEF Israel
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Program
Fadi Al-Dairi, Country Director, Hand in Hand for Syria
Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General, Save the Children Sweden
Defence for Children International
Shukria Dellawar, Women Thrive Worldwide
Hisham Dirani, BINAA
Jan Egeland, Secretary General, Norwegian Refugee Council
Danks Emese, Executive Director, UNICEF Magyar
Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada
Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International
Amy Fong, Save the Children Hong Kong
Meg Gardinier, Secretary General, ChildFund Alliance
Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, Oxfam GB and on behalf of Oxfam International
Pavla Gomba, Výkonná ředitelka, UNICEF ČR
Madalena Marçal Grilo, Executive Director, Comité Português para a UNICEF
Daryl Grisgraber, Refugees International
Neal Keny-Guyer, President/CEO, Mercy Corp
Ken Hayami, Executive Director, Japan Committee for UNICEF
Headwaters Relief Organisation
Abdullah Hanoun, Syrian Community of the South West UK
Dirk Hegmanns, Regional Director Turkey/Syria/Iraq, Welthungerhilfe
Rolla Hinedi, Syria Relief Turkey
International Disability Alliance
Islamic Relief Worldwide
W. Douglas Jackson, President/CEO, PROJECT C.U.R.E
Kevin Jenkins, President, World Vision
Bergsteinn Jónsson, Executive Director, UNICEF Iceland
Mohannad Kanawati, Khayr Charity
Helen Keller
Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary General, Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
Marja-Ritta Ketola, CEO, UNICEF Finland
Peter Klansoe, Regional Director, Danish Refugee Council
Pim Kraan, Chief Executive, Save the Children Netherlands
Marek Krupiński and Krzysztof Socha, Polish National Committee for UNICEF
Dr. Hans Kuenzle Chair of the Board of the Swiss Committee for UNICEF
Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF
Jane Lau, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF
Ilias Liberis, Executive Director, Hellenic National Committee for UNICEF
Jonas Keiding Lindholm, Generalsekretær / CEO, Red Barnet / Save the Children Denmark
John Lyon, President, CEO, World Hope International
Eleanor McClelland, People in Need
Vivien Maidaborn, CEO, UNICEF NZ
Ennio Miccoli Director COOPI – Cooperazione Internazionale
Carolyn Miles, President & CEO, Save the Children USA
David Milliband, International Rescue Committee
Juraj Mišura and Giorgio Dovogi Slovak Committee for UNICEF
James Mitchum Chief Executive Officer, Heart to Heart International
Othman Moqbel , Chief Executive, Human Appeal International
David Morley, President and CEO, UNICEF Canada
John Nduna, General Secretary, ACT Alliance
Niall O’Keeffe, Head of Region, Middle East & Asia, Trócaire
William O’Keefe, Catholic Relief Services
Babatunde Osotimenhin, Executive Director, UNFPA
Ignacio Packer, Secretary General,Terre Des Hommes International Federation
Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, MERCY Malaysia
Peter Power, UNICEF Ireland
Erna Reynisdóttir, CEO, Barnaheill – Save the Children á Íslandi
Curt Rhodes International Director, Questscope
Michel Roy, Secretary-General, Caritas Internationalis
Paolo Rozera, Executive Director, UNICEF Italian National Committee
Christian Schneider, German Committee for UNICEF
Kunio Senga, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children, Japan
Martin Shupack, Church World Service
Baraa Al-Smoudi, Ihsan RD
Janti Soeripto, Save the Children International
SOS Children’s Villages International
Tanya Steele, Interim Chief Executive of Save the Children UK
Caryl M. Stern President and CEO, US Fund for UNICEF
John Stewart, President, Australian Committee for UNICEF
Dae Won Suh, Executive Director, KCU
William Lacy Swing Director General IOM
Syria Relief and Development
Ghaith Taraben, Head of Mission, Turkey, Qatar Red Crescent
Amro Tarrisi, Violet Organization
Marta Alberch Terres, Directora, Unicef Comitè d’Andorra
Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit , General Secretary, World Council of Churches
Joan Timoney, Women’s Refugee Commission
United Muslim Relief
Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace
Damien Vincent, UNICEF Belgium
Sandra Visscher, Executive Director UNICEF-Luxembourg
Jan Bouke Wijbrandi, Dutch National Committee for UNICEF
Nancy E. Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Relief International
Tove R. Wang, CEO, Save the Children Norway
Samuel A. Worthington, CEO, InterAction
Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Mohammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Chief Executive, Awaz Foundation Pakistan



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.

Nearly Finished School Excites in Haiti

As part of our Community Development work in the remote southeast of Haiti, we’ve been helping to coordinate the building of a school in Cascade Pichon.
Now, the school is partially open and should be completed before the year is out.

CP School #1

We recently featured this school and our development work underway in Cascade Pichon, along with the impression this new school is having on the children of this community.  Here are a couple of excerpts from that story:

10-year-old 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.”

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.

Two classrooms are finished and open to students and four more are still being finished. A few days ago, a mini dedication took place for those who are backing the building of the school – an anonymous foundation and the Mid-America Nazarene University – and was attended by a large number of school-children who are using, and who will use, this school.  Check out all those kids in the photo below!

CP School Children Walking

According to Wes Comfort, our deputy director of programs in Haiti, “The community is beyond excited, the kids are smiling ear to ear, and families are excited that their children will be able to get a sound education in a proper school without having to leave the community to go to Belle-Anse, Jacmel, or even Port-au-Prince.”

This is progress.  This is good.



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.