Recently we received at Canadian Friends of HAS, the report that is delivered to us on an annual basis, from HASâ€™s Administration office in Pittsburgh. This comes to CFHAS in fulfillment of the agreement which we enact each year in association with our annual grant to HAS, which is specifically directed to Maternal & Child Health and for the past several years has been in the amount of $100,000 USD.
The 5Â½-page report was written by Lenora Vesio, Director of Development at HAS. What follows below, with her permission, is a synopsis prepared by Mick Stewart, CFHAS President.
The importance of Maternal and Child health-focused programs at HAS
Research has demonstrated conclusively that the health of women and children is the cornerstone of public health, which is why HÃ´pital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) invests so heavily in maternal, newborn and paedriatric care. HAS is making significant progress in improving health outcomes for women, children and families in Haiti thanks to consistent and generous support from Canadian Friends of HÃ´pital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (CFHAS).
At HAS, reproductive and maternal health services link closely with each other and with newborn and child health services. This strategy aligns with a global movement to integrate such services. Haiti currently has unacceptably high rates of maternal, infant and under-5 mortality. Within this scenario, HAS provides the only 24/7 full-service hospital in the Lower Artibonite Valley, serving its client population though the main hospital campus, the four community health centres and 70-80 mobile clinics plus hundreds of health posts conducted each month.
Matrones, Post-partum Care and Birthing Centres - Matrones are Haitiâ€™s traditional birthing attendants, now part of the HAS strategy for assisted deliveries. HAS trained 27 new matrones in 2014, bringing the total to 300 trained by HAS. Community health workers completed 93% of home visits within 2 days of delivery (in 2013, 87%). HAS plans also, to build birthing centres to accommodate women with normal pregnancies, thereby allowing the hospital to retain its focus on high-risk pregnancies and obstetric complications.
Preventative Medicine â€“ In 2014, nutrition screening reached 96% of the children in the HAS service area; and distribution of Vitamin A supplements to lactating mothers & young children were up significantly (44% & 15% respectively). Early screening and interventions at clinics, allow children to recover more swiftly from, and avoid medical complications of, malnutrition. Admissions for malnutrition in 2014 were down 7% compared to 2013. Regrettably, fewer children received immunizations than in 2013, primarily due to reduced supply from the Health Ministry (the only regulated provider of vaccines in Haiti)
Progress and Innovation at HAS Haiti â€“ In 2014, HAS improved its infrastructure in several important areas ---
A new, expanded maternity unit which will assist the hospital to address the rise in demand.
Installation of wireless technology which will enable sharing of patient data between clinics and the main hospital; mothers and children are anticipated to be the primary beneficiaries.
A solar power system donated by Canadian company Celestica as a direct result of a visit to HAS by a Canadian Friendsâ€™ workteam will reduce the hospitalâ€™s carbon footprint and also reduce energy costs significantly.
A more sophisticated inventory management system will cut waste, and inventory costs.
Thank you, Canadian Friends of HAS! â€“ The support, advocacy and influence of CFHAS helps HAS to save lives and improve health outcomes for women, children and families in the Lower Artibonite Valley of Haiti. Thank you for committing to this effort for the long haul.