Tag Archives: Haiti

USAID Tackles Respectful Maternity Care, Better Working Conditions for Midwives

This week USAID released its follow-up to Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: USAID Maternal Health
Vision for Action (June 2014) with its new report of the same name with the addition of evidence for strategic approaches. These approaches seek to lower the world’s maternal mortality rate. Right now 289,000 women die per year from complications during child birth.

While it is widely known that MDG 5 will fall short of its overall global goal, USAID has partnered with other leading organizations including the World Health Organization, Maternal Health Task Force, United Nations Population Fund, and the Maternal Child Health Integrated Fund along with representatives from 30 countries  to work on a new set of maternal health goals. Set in April 2014, these organizations are now working towards a global maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 70/100,000 with no country having above a 140 MMR by 2030.

Continue reading USAID Tackles Respectful Maternity Care, Better Working Conditions for Midwives

5 of Our Partners Who Continue to Work in Haiti #Haiti5Years

In an earlier piece today, How is Haiti Faring Five Years After the Earthquake, development and recovery effort data and details were rather pessimistic. The numbers bear out that while some overall development achievements have been met, there is still a long way to go to help Haiti fully recover. And, yet, there continues to be successes all over Haiti. Our partners are helping to make these successes happen.

SOS Children’s Villages 

On January 10, 2015, SOS Children’s Villages opened its third village for orphaned children in Les Cayes, Haiti. 63 children will be provided a home. For over 30 years, SOS Children’s Villages has provided family-based care and education programs in Santo and Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. Immediately following the earthquake SOS Children’s Villages took in 400 orphaned children and fed 24,000 children every day.

“The biggest challenge for SOS Children’s Villages during the earthquake was to find a way to welcome these children because the village was too small,” said Celigny Darius, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages – Haiti. “We installed temporary houses to enable us to take them in.”

In addition to the opening of its third village, SOS Children’s Villages has invested in six schools to renew education on the island. And 3000 children receive support through their community centers.

Continue reading 5 of Our Partners Who Continue to Work in Haiti #Haiti5Years

How Is Haiti Faring Five Years After the Earthquake?

Five years ago today, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake destroyed large regions of Haiti especially Port-au-Prince and Jacmel. For the poorest country in the western hemisphere, the earthquake only exacerbated poverty matters for its citizens and its standing in the world economy. An estimated 230,000 people lost their lives and 1.5 million more were displaced. Since 2010, $13 billion has been raised to aid the small Caribbean island country, but where has the money gone?

By most accounts, Haiti is doing much better than it was five years ago, and yet there is still a long way to go to provide permanent housing for its citizens and finally do away with the tent cities that became ubiquitous with a slow-going recovery effort.

“Haiti’s recovery has not been easy. There have been – and continue to be – setbacks along the way, and there is much work still to be done to ensure political and institutional stability, democratic governance and sustainable development,” said the UN chief, Ban Ki Moon in a statement commemorating the five year anniversary of the earthquake.

While some Haitians have moved into permanent housing outside of Port-au-Prince many complain that the new homes, while much better than living in squalid tent cities, are too far away from Haiti’s capital to work. Jobs were promised near their new homes, but those have not yet materialized. And, there is still a looming question about the 8,000 cholera deaths that occurred after human waste was inadvertently dumped into major waterways by Nepalese UN workers in 2010. 700,000 people were also sickened by the disease and continue to be plagued today. Haitian groups have tried since 2013 to sue the United Nations because of the cholera epidemic, but last week, a judge ruled that the UN could not be sued.

Continue reading How Is Haiti Faring Five Years After the Earthquake?

How PSI Keeps Sex Workers Safe in Haiti

By Ashley Judd, PSI Global Ambassador

A woman will do whatever is needed to feed her family.

In a brothel in downtown Port Au Prince, you see just that. Twenty women, all of them mothers, were clustered in the front room. The cement walls were sparsely decorated with stenciled yellow stars.

With few options but with families counting on them, these women sell their bodies. They know it’s dangerous. They know the risks. But for them the alternative for their families – homelessness, hunger, hopelessness — is worse. PSI tries to keep them safe.

A PSI lab tech is in the room. She covers a table with gauze. She lays out gloves, testing kits for syphilis and HIV and a bio waste receptacle.

Nadege – who once sold her body, but found work through PSI as a health educator — walks to the center of the room. As she speaks, some women take turns getting their blood drawn.

Thank you for your past support of PSI’s work. You are the kind of person who understands why we must help these women live healthier lives and create better futures for their children. Make a tax-deductible donation to fund the efforts of PSI-trained health workers like Nadege. For a short time, your donation will be matched through a $200,000 challenge gift from PSI’s board of directors.

Fedeline, a quiet woman with a shy smile, comes here every morning. She rents her small room for $6 US a day and gets paid $5 per client.

She works to take care of her son Widney and pay for his education. But she admits that she’s terrified each time she sees a client. She says, “You don’t know if the guy is a good guy or a bad guy. You just have to do it.”

She’s also afraid of STIs like HIV. “If you don’t use a condom, you can get viruses. But we have Nadege. She comes and does the tests for us. She’s one of us.”

At PSI, we believe that every person deserves a chance to live a healthy life. We go into hot spots like brothels and provide HIV testing and counseling free of charge. Preventing illness among women like Fedeline is imperative to a healthy community.

Support this important work. For a short time, your donation will go twice as far through this generous challenge match.

Thank you.

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd is a celebrated American actress and humanitarian. She became an ambassador for PSI in 2002 and served as a board member from 2004 to 2013.

Join Ashley Judd In Supporting Health Workers in Haiti

unnamed (1)By Ashley Judd, PSI Global Ambassador

Virgila is more charismatic and animated than most actors I know.

She’s a PSI-trained health worker on the outskirts of Port Au Prince, Haiti. And she’s passionate about her work. She goes door-to-door educating women about the benefits of reversible contraception like the IUD.

Giving birth is dangerous business for Haiti’s poor, who suffer the highest maternal mortality rate in the western hemisphere. To save the lives of mothers, we must ensure that we prevent unintended pregnancies from occurring.

Please make a tax-deductible donation to fund the efforts of PSI-trained health workers like Virgila. For a short time, your donation will be matched through a generous $200,000 challenge gift from PSI’s board of directors.

Virgila says, “I reach women wherever they are. I go door-to-door. I go to hospitals. I go to mother’s associations. I go to community meetings.”

She waves her arms, “There is so much need. It’s never ok to stop working. I want women to be able to have the number of children they want.”

Roslyne, a woman who arrived at the clinic today to get an IUD says, “Ms. Virgila knocked on my door one day. That’s why I’m here.” Roslyne — who ekes out a living for her family by selling spinach she grows — has five children, ages 13, ten, six, two and one. She didn’t know about the IUD before Virgila told her about it.

The work Virgila does changes people’s lives — plain and simple. Please join me and support the effective work of community health workers. For a short time, your donation will go twice as far through this generous challenge match.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Ashley Judd

P.S. Peter Singer says, “I recommend PSI because they focus on interventions with proven impact that help children survive the most serious health challenges they face — like a lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS.” Donate now.

Ashley Judd is a celebrated American actress and humanitarian. She became an ambassador for PSI in 2002 and served as a board member from 2004 to 2013.

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