Tag Archives: Haiti

Introducing Our Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Correspondents

As our work continues to expand globally especially as the MDG deadline nears in 2015 we want to ensure that international voices are the cornerstone of our coverage of maternal, newborn, and child health worldwide. We are beginning with three correspondents: Winfred Ogdom, a nutritionist from Uganda, Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a motherhood blogger and journalist from Nairobi, Kenya, and Midwives from Haiti, a NGO that is fighting maternal and infant mortality in Haiti, the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere to be a mother, baby, or child under 5.

If you would like to be a correspondent, please email us at info@mombloggersforsocialgood.com for more information.

HAITI

LogoNewVertMidwives For Haiti is fighting maternal and infant mortality in Haiti, the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere to be a mother, baby, or child under 5. We deliver culturally appropriate, high impact health interventions to increase access to quality maternal care.  Our projects- which include Skilled Birth Attendant training, a Mobile Prenatal Clinic, a Postnatal Care Clinic, staffing and supporting a maternity ward, and training traditional birth attendants in our Matròn Outreach Program- educate and empower Haitian men and women to improve the health of their communities, creating lasting change for our graduates and the lives of the mothers and children they care for.


 

KENYA 

Maryanne_Waweru pptMaryanne Waweru-Wanyama is a motherhood blogger from Nairobi, Kenya. She tells her motherhood stories on her blog mummytales.com where she also incorporates the experiences of other Kenyan mothers. On her blog, Maryanne provides education on pregnancy, birth, delivery and infant and child care and nutrition. Maryanne is a journalist with over fourteen years experience and who has written, and still writes for various publications in Kenya including: the Daily Nation newspaper, the Star newspaper, the Standard newspaper, Parents Magazine, Healthy Woman Magazine, Healthy Child Magazine and many other publications. Her area of specialty is human interest features, maternal and child health articles. Maryanne is married with two sons.


 

UGANDA

Winfred Ongom Winfred Ongom is a 23-year-old Ugandan Nutritionist acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics this year in December. She has a lot of interest in making the world a better place using her standards of humanity and care. And this has given her exposure on issues of maternal and child health and their importance in development.

Winfred advocates for children, young people and mothers. Currently, she is using social media to inform and educate people on the challenges being faced by young people and mothers. Winfred stresses the need to step up maternal and child health so the world can be a better place for everyone.

Winfred Ongom 1

 

 Featured photo courtesy of Midwives for Haiti.

News on Haiti’s Current Reconstruction Achievements, Setbacks

Nearly three years after the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 12, 2010 and killed over 300,000 people there are significant signs of improvements in the reconstruction of the world’s poorest country despite subsequent natural disasters after the quake, notably hurricanes Issac and Sandy. However, when you read and hear multiple accounts from the ground progress is slow-going and there is still much work to be done.

“The US and the UN have been working side-by-side with the Haitian community and the government to rebuild that country, and while there is still a lot of work to do, there is also good news,” said United Nations Foundation CEO, Kathy Calvin on a conference call yesterday. “The UN has been on the scene in Haiti since long before the earthquake and it continues to address the needs of their people helping to rebuild and transform their country.”

According to key statistics laid out by the United Nations Foundation 80% of all debris generated from the earthquake has been removed by the Haitian people and Haitian government, as well as by the United Nations and other organizations. 158,000 people have been moved into new housing, nearly 3 million children under age 10 have been vaccinated against polio, measles and rubella, and 470,000 temporary jobs have been created, of which 40% have gone to women.

Despite these improvements, over 300,000 people remain displaced and still live in nearly 500 squalid tent cities where cholera, poor sanitation, and rife poverty remain rampant. According to the International Organization for Migration 84% of tent city dwellers have been living in temporary housing since the earthquake hit three years ago.

“There are 358,000 people living in really sordid camps now,” said Amy Wilentz,  longtime journalist on Haiti and author of ‘Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti’, in a January 10 NPR interview with Michel Martin. “It’s a little more than the estimate of people killed in the earthquake.”

Since a cholera outbreak hit the tiny island country shortly after the earthquake, nearly 8,000 people have died and over half a million people have been sickened. To respond to the cholera problem, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is focusing on the quality of water and sanitation in order to stop the transmission of the infectious disease across the island. Additional reconstructive efforts such as the improved rebuilding of structures, particularly hospitals, are being overlooked by PAHO as well as continued vaccination programs.

As it stands now reconstruction efforts continue to progress and centralized, coordinated efforts appear to be the next step to progressive action in order to avoid overlaps in development and also to give more power and leadership to the Haitian government.

“As we see progress we also see the long-tern challenges that the country has,” said Jessica FaietaDeputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN Development Programme (UNDP) on a conference call. “Now we are looking to the longer term engagement of the donors and the continued engagement of UN partners and the international community.”

Common to all reconstruction efforts it will take time to remedy all of the earthquake damage and its residual effects, but there is optimism in the midst of a barrage of  critics.

“The progress in the last three years has been enormous,” Faieta said.

Photo: The Haitian Government and international agencies are ramping up efforts to relocate people still living in camps across Haiti as a result of the January 2010 earthquake. UN Photo/Logan Abassi

 

Cholera Outbreak in Haiti in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Heavy rains in Haiti’s northern city of Cap-Haïtien flooded streets, homes and fields overnight on 9 November, leaving hundreds homeless and up to fifteen people dead. A girl walks through the flooded streets of her neighbourhood. UN Photo/Logan Abassi

Hurricane Sandy left infrastructural damage and flooding in many areas of Haiti. Tent cities have been a mainstay in Haiti since the devastating earthquake nearly three years ago, sanitation is hit and miss, and dirty standing water and raw sewage pose perpetual problems throughout the tiny island nation.

According to the Associated Press, “the International Organization for Migration says Haitian officials have confirmed 3,593 cholera cases and another 837 suspected cases since Hurricane Sandy’s passage.”

NGOs and doctors are giving out cholera kits and are asking Haitians to spread the word about how to avoid getting cholera, but with a lack of clean drinking water more people are bound to be sickened by or die because of cholera. And despite these valiant efforts the waterborne disease continues to take the lives of the very young and old primarily.

Haiti Babi – Helping Haitian Mothers

Social entrepreneur Katlin Jackson recently co-founded Haiti Babi, a company that creates handmade baby blankets and fair-wage jobs for moms in Haiti, empowering them to provide for their families.

According to Haiti Babi, one in ten children in Haiti live in an orphanage, and many of these children have parents, but their parents cannot afford them. Haiti Babi was created as a sustainable solution for this problem-  Haiti Babi gives moms jobs.

Our moms in Haiti take pride in creating beautiful, soft, handmade baby blankets for sale around the world. We believe that empowerment through economic development is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. When a mom works at Haiti Babi, she doesn’t just earn a paycheck; she also rebuilds her self-esteem, and shows her children that they can break the cycle of poverty. – Katlin Jackson

Haiti Babi is in the final stages of a successful Indiegogo campaign where thus far they have raised over $12,000 to fund the start-up costs of Haiti Babi. Once off the ground you will be able to purchase beautifully handmade baby blankets that will empower fellow mothers in Haiti and allow them to take care of their children and families.

Watch their story below.

Haiti Babi on Indiegogo from Katlin Jackson on Vimeo.

Keep up-to-date about Haiti Babi on the web (http://haitibabi.org), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HaitiBabi), and on Twitter (@haitibabi).

Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Haiti

Hurricane Sandy left death and destruction along its path through the Caribbean and upwards through the northeast United States over the past week. The latest death toll in the United States is nearing 100 and property and environmental damages will cost billions of dollars to repair. But, in Haiti where hurricanes and tropical storms are rife and where development projects remain too few the flooding, disease, and homelessness are harder to bear.

Even though Sandy roared through the Caribbean last week flooding is still a major concern particularly as cholera cases rise. The flooding also damaged newly planted crops that may result in spikes in food prices.

“Several thousand kilometres of agricultural roads were destroyed and thousands of heads of cattle were swept away by the flood waters, which also destroyed thousands of hectares of plantations,” Agriculture Minister Jacques Thomas said as reported by South Africa’s Times Live.

Yesterday the Haitian government declared a month-long state of emergency to accelerate infrastructure and electrical repair and restore drinking water. Johan Peleman, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) operation in Haiti, told UN Radio that it is still too early to assess the full range of damages.

There are, however, concerns about food insecurity. “Already, the drought and the previous storm had hit the northern part of the country very badly and we had seen the levels of food insecurity rise there,” Peleman said. “With the south being hit now, we are going to face in the next couple of months very serious problems of malnutrition and food insecurity.”

Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
A woman walks through a flooded market in Port au Prince. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
Residents stand on the banks of a river that swept away five homes in Port au Prince. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
A coastal town is flooded. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH

Join Us for the #HabitatinHaiti Twitter Party (November 14, 2012)

Join us! Register on Eventbrite.

On November 14 at 7 PM EST we will moderate a Twitter conversation about the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project in Haiti this year. The 29th annual Carter Work Project returns to Léogâne, Haiti, Nov. 23-Dec. 1, 2012, for the second year in a row.

Together, we will chat about:

  • Habitat’s earthquake recovery initiatives in Haiti and specifically how the Habitat community in Léogâne is now flourishing
  • What it takes to build and strengthen a community
  • Ways you can help with Habitat’s work in Haiti or in the community where you live

Follow @Habitat_org for updates and join the conversation at #HabitatinHaiti. For more information about the 2012 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work project, visit: http://www.habitat.org/cwp/2012. Join us! Register on Eventbrite.

Haiti Experiences Devastation After Sandy

Haiti, the tiny island in the Caribbean and one of the poorest countries in the world, experienced severe infrastructure devastation and 52 deaths caused by hurricane Sandy. 200,000 people are currently homeless as a direct result of the hurricane. Still suffering from the damage of Issac earlier this summer and the earthquake from nearly three years ago, Haiti is again ripe for a devastating cholera outbreak, food shortages, and food price spikes. Crop damage, especially banana and coffee, is expected and the loss of livestock will hurt many farmers.

With all of the infrastructure damage and humanitarian efforts that are perpetually underway the Security Council recently extended the UN Haiti Mission for one year until October 15, 2013. The UN Haiti Mission creates development programs that help bring Haitians to self-sufficiency like the inland fish farm written about in September, or the recent infrastructure project that got underway in Port-au-Prince that will help rebuild streets and roadways.

Security Council Meeting: Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Photo: United Nations)

Here is a telling video from the Washington Post that shows some of the devastation first hand and how those still living in the tent cities are faring.

What can you do to help?

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Sunday’s Global News and Development Must-Reads

As you gear up for another week here are a few must-reads about global news and development I recommend.

  • African women won’t wield political influence without cultural change: This article from today’s Guardian highlights the quota system put in place in many African countries that require a certain percentage of female representation in government. Read more to see whether these quotas work or are largely just for show.
  • Adult and Youth Literacy Projections: Yesterday was International Literacy Day. UNESCO reports Brazil, China, Indonesia, Iran and Mexico are expected to reach near-universal youth #literacy by 2015!
  • [Watch] Chisomo’s Story. You may have heard about Save the Children’s and the Ad Council’s new campaign Every Beat Matters. It is a global initiative that seeks to provide basic health care for children around the world and shine a light on the health workers that work tirelessly to keep them alive. Watch Chismo’s story about the work he does as the sole health worker in a village of 2216 people.
  • Slum surveys giving ‘invisible’ inhabitants a say in urban planning: Living in urban slums poses difficult for its residents not only because of squalid living conditions and rife poverty. Residents also need to contend with government ordered evictions where one moment people have makeshift homes and the next they are completely razed. Read more about how slum dwellers are becoming more empowered
  • [Photo] The photo above caught my eye. It was taken after hurricane Issac hit Haiti.
    Haitians Receive Government Food Aid in Aftermath Tropical Storm Isaac
    A young girl waits in line for food aid being distributed by the Haitian government in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac. The storm-swept through Haiti on 25 August with high winds and heavy rains, flooding low-lying areas of the capital Port-au-Prince and the south and seriously damaging camps for people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake. 26 August 2012 | Port-au-Prince, Haiti | UN Photo/Logan Abassi

New Fishing, Agricultural Development Project in Haiti

Development projects in the developing world help in immeasurable ways. They create a blueprint for implemented ideas that work and even those that have drawbacks, but most importantly they help people lead more productive, healthy lives. Even if the projects aren’t scaled nationwide or even regionally development projects allow experts to help those in need and learn simultaneously.

Recently the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) created an inland fish farm for Haitian families in the central part of the country to increase agricultural production in the region.

Despite the massive earthquake in 2010, the recent cholera outbreaks in the tent cities that still houses close to 400,000 people and hurricane Issac that flooded parts of the country two weeks ago, development experts understand that stabilization efforts must get underway because once all of the crises subside Haitians will need to resume a normal livelihood.

The project constructed two fish farms, 300 meters of irrigation canals to yield more crops, and 500 meters of packed earth irrigation canals according to the United Nations.

Photos: UN Photo/Logan Abassi

Bloggers Visit Haiti, Raise Awareness

Mom bloggers have been in Haiti with social media marketing firm, Be Everywhere, since last Saturday visiting artisans whose work is sold at Macy’s stores nationwide through the Heart of Haiti program as well as visiting relief agencies for women.

The moms on the trip include Jeannette Kaplum (Todobebe), Ana Flores (Latina Bloggers Connect), Leticia Barr (Tech Savvy Mama), Elena Sonnino (Ciao Mama) and Nadia Jones (JusticeJonesie.com). The trip ends tomorrow, but you can read the follow posts from Haiti:

Learn more about Heart of Haiti at www.heartofhaiti.com and follow the bloggers at #bloggers4haiti. Photo copyright: Ana Flores (Spanglish Baby)