Hello everyone: It is a pleasure to share with you, excerpts from the annual report from HAS on the 2020 Maternal and Child Health Activities. Also included is an update on Haiti and the hospital from the CEO as well as a listing of our future events. CFHAS wishes everyone a safe, healthy and happy summer time. Enjoy the Reading!
To see the full annual report to CFHAS click HERE
This year marks 65 years of exceptional work with a dedicated staff on the front lines saving lives every day. Despite the effects of the global pandemic, your steadfast support continually reinforces HAS’ ability to fully respond to the needs of the Artibonite Valley’s beneficiaries and changing healthcare landscape.
THE COVID-19 EFFECT ON HAS PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
March 2020 ushered the arrival of the coronavirus global pandemic. In response, the Haitian Ministry of Health designated HAS as one of the COVID-19 treatment sites in the Artibonite region. The hospital began to receive the first wave of suspected cases in
To date, HAS has treated 89 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 22 fatalities
. Thankfully the virus has not devastated Haiti and case numbers continue to be low compared to other countries, such as neighboring Dominican Republic. As of May 13, 2021, Haiti has reported 13,227 total cases, 12,397 recovered cases and 266 total deaths country-wide.
Continued Essential Health Services
In the midst of treatment for COVID-19, HAS continued to provide essential health services by remaining open 24/7, providing vital maternal and child health services including high-risk obstetrics, prenatal and neonatal care and pediatric services.
Given that Haiti still has some of the lowest health outcomes in the world for women and children, the arrival of COVID-19 further reinforced HAS’ commitment to providing quality community-based maternal and child health services – thus bringing preventative care to people where they live, and in treating patients effectively outside of the over-burdened and more costly hospital setting.
MATERNAL HEALTH SERVICES
Obstetrics and Gynecology
HAS’s reputation for high-quality, compassionate maternity care remains among the best in all of Haiti. With an average of over 700 prenatal consultations performed each month, virtually 100% of pregnant women in our service area will have at least one consultation with a skilled professional before they give birth
Approximately 35% of all births, however, still occur at home. To make home births safer, HAS trained approximately 280 traditional birth attendants to employ safe, sterile birthing techniques and to observe the warning signs of an emergency requiring referral to the hospital
Today, these trained birth attendants assist in an average of 78 home deliveries per month.
Maternal, newborn, and pediatric care accounts for roughly 60% of HAS’s services and also put an enormous strain on the hospital’s financial and material resources.
Community-Based Women’s Health Services
HAS provides the majority of its primary and preventive women’s reproductive health services at the community level. Basic services include pre- and post- natal care and breastfeeding support for pregnant women and new mothers, administering vaccines, malnutrition treatment and prevention, diabetes, and hypertension screenings.
CHILDREN’S HEALTH SERVICES
Neonatal and Pediatric Health Services
In spite of the challenges of 2020, over 51,000 patient days were registered in the hospital, almost 50% of which were dedicated to pediatric patients. HAS provided neonatal care to 808 patients, which is slightly higher than the five-year average of 780 neonatal cases per year.
A 19% increase from 2019, 295 children participated in the malnutrition program. Of them, 150 were severely malnourished children and were admitted into the Nutrition Stabilization Unit to receive specialized treatment. The malnutrition treatment program is 100% subsidized, therefore no financial burden is imposed on the parent for their child’s inpatient stay at the main hospital, which averages three weeks.
Community Children’s Health Services
With a strong team of dedicated auxiliary nurses, aide auxiliaries, and community health workers (CHWs), HAS provides clinical care and education to mothers and children at mobile clinics and community health posts on such topics as: early and exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, immunizations, diarrhea prevention and management, and pre- and post-natal care.
HAS community health centers and CHW network also emphasize child health in a variety of ways.
Programs offering nutrition screenings, immunizations, distribution of vitamins and deworming medication are targeted for reducing child mortality, particularly in the crucial first 1,000 days of life. .
In 2020, community-based health services were provided to tens of thousands of children:
- Over 16,000 pediatric consultations were conducted in community health centers and via mobile clinics;
- CHWs performed a total of 67,098 screenings for malnutrition for children 5 and under by measuring average middle upper arm circumference (MUAC);
- An average of 5,991 children were weighed each month (for a total of 71,893 children) as another malnutrition screening measure;
- 295 at-risk children benefited from specialized preventive treatment for malnutrition through the community-based malnutrition program and nutrition stabilization program;
- 1,059 children 1 year and under completed all of their required vaccinations.
The socio-economic outlook in the l’Artibonite region seems even more bleak amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are thankful that coronavirus did not devastate our community as deeply as had been predicted. In spite of the persistent tense political situation, we continue to move forward in providing our constituents with the best healthcare.
In our 65th year of operation, we honor our founders Dr. Larry and Gwen Mellon for the work begun in 1956. Today, we continue that work with dedicated partners such as you, Canadian Friends of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. With your generous support, we have become a valued staple in the most rural of communities in the l’Artibonite Valley as we provide quality and dependable maternal and child care. Your vital financial support permits HAS to meet these needs and continue to improve health outcomes for mothers and children in our service region.
HOSPITAL UPDATE FROM HAS CEO JN MARC DE MATTEIS – June 2021
Greetings to the Canadian Friends of HAS and our many friends throughout Canada. We are grateful for the strong support you have provided in this challenging year, pulling off a virtual Trek to HAS as well as the Haiti Happening with such aplomb!
This continues to be a challenging time in Haiti and at HAS. The political instability, gang violence and general insecurity has worsened. The outlook for the future remains uncertain.
However, HAS has entered 2021 – our 65th anniversary year –with an outstanding team of nearly 500 employees (98% of whom are Haitian and 50% of whom are women) who are all committed to overcoming these challenges. We are proud to continue to provide the exceptional care that has been an HAS hallmark since the founding of our hospital so many years ago.
I’d like to share with you a brief update on just some of the current work underway at HAS:
After many months of minimal COVID activity, the last several weeks have brought a resurgence of COVID-19 throughout Haiti. A national state of emergency has been declared and HAS reopened our dedicated COVID Treatment Center. We remain in very close contact with other organizations and government authorities on the arrival and eventual rollout of a national vaccination program. As soon as a formal vaccine program is approved, will do our part to support the vaccination efforts in our service area.
HAS is very fortunate to have a new high capacity oxygen generator, received through the generosity of USAID/Project Santé. This means we can now independently produce our own oxygen, so the expensive and very dangerous trips to Port-au-Prince to fill our oxygen tanks are no longer needed. In addition, our new high capacity oxygen plant allows us to help other health care facilities. As this new wave of COVID infections has hit, there is a massive shortage of oxygen in Haiti and our plant is now working 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to fill the oxygen tanks of nearby hospitals and clinics who are overwhelmed with COVID cases. Without HAS and the oxygen we provide, these surrounding health care centers would have to turn countless patients away.
One of the consequences of a long year of the global pandemic that has been made much worse by the violence and insecurity, has been an increase in malnutrition rates throughout Haiti and in our service area. As a result, we are seeing more patients in our community-based malnutrition programs as well as in our pediatric inpatient unit at the hospital. We have responded to this growing menace by ramping up our nutrition programs across the board. As a result of these efforts, admissions to the pediatric inpatient malnutrition unit have surpassed the 2020 rate. As the rainy season approaches, our watchfulness for symptoms of malnutrition grows.
This year has brought a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with type 1 and type 2 diabetes at HAS. Glucose test strips, administered every 2 hours, are expensive and in short supply. As we investigate the root cause of this new situation, we will increase patient education to help alleviate early signs of diabetes.
Despite the challenges presented by widespread insecurity and the COVID epidemic, in partnership with Caris Foundation, we have managed to launch a dedicated HIV treatment center on our campus. This means that we are now able to screen, counsel and actually treat HIV patients. We provide life-saving medicines and treatments at no cost. In the first 60 days of our program, we already have enrolled 75 patients who are now receiving their ARV medicines. We will have 150-200 patients enrolled by the end of the summer.
The above is just a small sampling of the work that YOUR support makes possible. Thank you once again for all that you do for HAS.
Jean Marc de Matteis
Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti
HAITI HAPPENING 2020: A big thank you to everyone who donated to and/or participated in our Virtual Happening Haiti which took place on April 24. Due to the generosity of our supporters we raised $37.000 which will go toward the vital support for HAS that you have just read about. To view the event click on the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/692u2wLocWs
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2022 Haiti Happening at the Grand Olympia on Saturday April 30, 2022
ALL DRESSED UP by RUBY: local artisan Ruby is offering her unique handcrafted jewelry for sale in which 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Canadian Friends of HAS. Now that we can be out and about, maybe you would like to do some early Christmas shopping or treat yourself or others to something special? Please join us at the sale to take place on Saturday July 17, 2021 from 10 AM to 3 PM, at 692 Courtland Place, Burlington, ON. All COVID guidelines will be followed.
100 HOLES FOR HAITI GOLF TOURNAMENT: Start practicing your swing and those tricky putts, the golf committee is excitedly planning for golf tournament to take place on Thurs Sept 16, 2021 at the Beverly Golf and Country Club in collaboration with the Joy and Hope of Haiti. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a delightful fall day of golfing, mark the date on your calendar. More information will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.
TREK2HAS: We had such a positive response for our Trek2HAS for the month of October, last year, that we are thrilled to invite you once more to join us walking, jogging, cycling, swimming to cover the kilometers between Hamilton and the Hospital in Deschapelles. Mark your calendar for October and be on the lookout for the details to come.
The newsletter ends with a tribute to the staff past, present and future who work so faithfully and diligently to carry out the work of Dr and Mrs Mellon, started 65 years ago on June 26. We also salute the many, many people who have contributed in one way or another to ensure the longevity of this most important institution in the Artibonite Valley.
“The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.” Albert Schweitze