Fabiola simon in the classroom turned consultation room in morency 

Mobile Medical Clinic Targets Pregnant Women in Haitian Countryside

Fabiola Simon in the classroom turned consultation room in Morency
Fabiola Simon in the classroom turned consultation room in Morency
Pregnant women wait to consult with Nurse Rachel during our July 2010 Medical Mission in Morency
Translators working with Nurse Practitioner students at Morency Primary School

July 21, 2010

As we approached the Mobile Clinic site – a Hope for Haiti supported primary school in the coastal community of Morency – something stood out in the crowd of villagers awaiting healthcare. Eager yet infinitely patient, the usual mix of men, women, children, and the elderly lined up outside the school. But among them, a remarkable amount of pregnant women waited in the shade of the sea grape trees, the early morning light glowing behind them on the Caribbean.

Eighteen in total, they were of varying ages and stages of pregnancy. What united them was their lack of access to regular prenatal care, living hours on foot from the nearest public maternity ward located in the Les Cayes General Hospital. To respond, Hope for Haiti nurse Rachel St. Germain brought these women together in what, just weeks earlier, had served as a first grade classroom. Seated on benches lining the half-lit room, the women listened as Miss Rachel talked about their pregnancies and investigated what kind of care each woman had sought so far.

She then consulted each woman individually, monitoring her weight, pulse, and blood pressure, discussing her sexual health, and investigating any other health issues she may have which could pose risks to her pregnancy. If a woman needed to see one of the three Haitian doctors on our team, she did so immediately. And before leaving, all of the women received a three-month supply of prenatal vitamins acquired through one of our partners, Vitamin Angels.

Fabiola Simon, at 24 years old, was eight months pregnant with her first child on the day of this Mobile Clinic. Thanks to Miss Rachel’s screening, her severe anemia was identified and she was referred to the HFH Infirmary for follow up. Through our Robert E. Hord Emergency Medical Fund, Hope for Haiti paid for her consultation with a gynecologist in Les Cayes. Equipped with the appropriate information and medications, she was on her way to a healthy delivery.

Pregnant women wait to consult with Nurse Rachel during our
Pregnant women wait to consult with Nurse Rachel during our
July 2010 Medical Mission in Morency
Miss Rachel monitoring blood pressure
Miss Rachel monitoring blood pressure
Fabiola Simon follows up at the HFH Infirmary
Fabiola Simon follows up at the HFH Infirmary

The following weekend, while crossing the mountains that separate Morency from Les Cayes, Fabiola went into labor. Women and midwives from the community came to her aid, and Fabiola had her baby there on the roadside. The delivery was successful and her child is healthy. Fabiola’s first concern, upon informing Hope for Haiti of the incident, was when she could come to Hope for Haiti’s Infirmary for post-natal care. We’ll see Fabiola and her baby very soon – evidence of another rural healthcare link successfully formed.

The standard post quake classroom 

Late but not lost, Haiti’s school year comes to a close

The standard post-quake classroom
The standard post-quake classroom

July 1, 2010

It is remarkable how little time schools in Haiti lost despite the earthquake. While it would have been understandable and even expected for the catastrophe to derail the entire academic year, schools resumed session only weeks after the disaster. Teacher, directors, the Ministry of Education, students, and families stayed strong and got back on track. Now, using only a few weeks of summer as extra sessions, schools are wrapping up a complete year despite January’s shattering interruption.

In the Southern Department, primary school students in the cities of Les Cayes and Aquin finished their year on time. First through fifth graders completed their required curriculum and tested out last week. Today marks the second day of testing for all 6th graders on the National Exam, performance on which determines if a student passes on to secondary school. In other departments, including Port-au-Prince, official State exams will be held in late July and early August.

The rubble at Pelagie Primary School
The rubble at Pelagie Primary School
Testing is in full swing at Hope for Haiti schools all over the south
Testing is in full swing at Hope for Haiti schools all over the south
5th grade students at Pelagie Primary School
5th grade students at Pelagie Primary School
High school students testing at St. Thomas Secondary, which accepted over 100 displaced students from Port au Prince for the second half of the year
High school students testing at St. Thomas Secondary, which accepted over 100 displaced students from Port au Prince for the second half of the year

Hope for Haiti is continuing to work beyond the prescribed school calendar with our program partners, making sure that they and their teachers are supported until the very end. One school in particular that exemplifies such resilience is Pelagie Primary School, in the mountains of southeast Haiti. With their main building destroyed, Pelagie’s nine classes (Pre-K to 6th grade) are continuing under tents like the one shown here. Even as the rainy season sets in, Pelagie’s 250 students continue walking to class, studying, and learning so as to not repeat a year. While the quake seemed to take away so many vital things, in Hope for Haiti supported schools, Education was not one of them.