Saving Mothers in Dame-Marie
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS TO FUND A HAITIAN OB-GYN AND ANESTHESIOLOGIST at Hôpital de la Communaute Dame-Marienne, Dame-Marie, Haiti
Young mothers in Haiti have a 1 in 80 chance of dying due to childbirth. This can be related to
• The lack of prenatal care, home delivery with little or no skilled providers except the village shaman or untrained midwife
• The lack of a working operating room with an OB-GYN/surgeon and anesthesiologist at a health facility
And for every mother that dies, 7 more are seriously injured and suffer lifelong pain, societal shame, and inability to work from physical damages.
Medical Aid to Haiti (MATH) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the mission of helping Haitians heal Haitians by developing services in the medically under-served village of Dame-Marie on the westernmost tip of Haiti and 5 villages around Port-au-Prince. www.medicalaidtohaiti.org)
Over the past 4 years, the Dame-Marie team, led by Dr. Michael R. Bourque, a renowned obstetrician and surgeon, and Kathy Aries, Labor & Delivery RN, at St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center (Hartford, CT), has accomplished the following for the community of 40,000 in Dame-Marie --
• Re-opened the operating room at the Hôpital de la Communaute Dame-Marienne (Community Hospital of Dame-Marie) and restored it to working order with most of the equipment donated by Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center (Hartford, CT) now the flagship hospital of Trinity Health – New England;
• Assembled surgical teams that traveled to Dame-Marie four (4) times a year and, for one week each trip, performed surgeries that would not have been available to the villagers of this very poor area; and
• Facilitated the development of surgical, medical, obstetrics / gynecology, pediatrics, dental, optometry and other key specialty skills through the involvement of Haitian medical personnel from other parts of Haiti on these teams.
Recently, a 6-month grant funded a Haitian OB-GYN and anesthesiologist on-site at the hospital for 3 of 4 weeks per month. This funding allowed a healthy outcome for over 304 mothers and children by assisting deliveries and / or performing C-Sections.
THE FUNDING FROM THIS GRANT, HOWEVER, HAS COME TO AN END.
MATH is asking for your support to continue the funding so vital to maintaining an OB-GYN/surgeon and anesthesiologist on-site in Dame-Marie and providing much-needed obstetrical services.
The cost for both an OB/GYN and anesthesiologist to be onsite is $1,000 per week, for a total of $52,000 per year. This sounds like a lot of money, but this equates to only $2.97 per hour for these two Haitian professionals who reside in the hospital and are available 24/7.
Additional information on maternal mortality in Haiti can be found at:
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"It is Mother’s Day weekend, and across the globe, we all take time out to honor our mothers … Mothers are truly wingless angels, and capeless heroes, and they are right in the midst of us. And because we in the US have so many resources, … we make it sound so easy. … we also have two blessings that other countries don’t. … medical teams just waiting to intervene if mother nature turns ugly, and … the comfort of family throughout her labor.
But just four hours away, ... So many die, and tragically that number is about one every three minutes, and almost as bad 5 more are forever maimed by the effects of giving birth on a dirt floor in a remote village without medical care.
MATH has worked to build up our donor base, so that we can have an Haitian Obstetrician and Haitian Anesthesiologist present year round in Dame-Marie. They come for a week at a time, and their primary function is to be available to do Cesarean sections when there are emergencies, so we do not lose as many mothers. This program is working and we are drawing mothers, who used to be afraid of the hospital, into a place of sanctuary and hope.
I hope part of your Mother’s Day celebration or remembrance of those who have left us will be thoughts on those who don’t have it so fortunate. And that you may consider a donation to help them deliver safely."
182 (average 20 per month) institutional natural deliveries
27 (average 3 per month) Cesarean section deliveries
1,435 (average 159 per month) prenatal visits.
Continued.. And in great measure our success in the field, is only matched by the support and behind the scenes work of our families, and our friends, and neighbors and our missionpeople in the departments at Saint Francis and MATH, and people like the donors here who do what they can so we can do what we do in the field. Thank you, and hugst to you all on this Mother's Day. God Bless.
Continued.. I still have that picture of Marianna and her newborn son Louis that I carry on each mission trip. Hundreds and hundreds of mothers and children are now alive and well due to the sacrifice Marianna unknowingly made. And the promise I made to her and her son for better outcomes of mothers and children like them, is alive and well due to over 600 medical and non medical volunteers who have now served with us on the front lines.
Today in the Dominican Republic, a young boy named Louis is 10 and a half years old. He is growing up motherless and being raised by his grandmother in a nameless village several days walking distance from the small hospital where I delivered his mother by C/S on my first mission trip 11/2006. She was 24 years old, and her name was Marianna as I found out weeks later. As in so many remote places she had been in labor for days, the baby wouldn't come out, and we had just arrived and were able to do a C/S. We visited her that evening and she was so happy nursing her son. We took a picture. The next morning I found out she had died of a stroke while breast feeding. Postpartum toxemia. Preventable if you have competent postpartum nursing and a dollar fifty of a drug called Magnesium Sulfate. My promise to her and her son, that we would do better, has led our teams and our program to this point in time. We now work in Haiti, as the conditions are more desperate, and the lives lost greater. Not only does the mother lose her life and possibly her unborn child if there is a terrible complication, but the lives of all her children at home are forfeit as there is no one to feed and care for them. There is no safety net of any kind. In one week from now our team of 18 amazing great hearted people will be once again on the front line of extreme poverty, disease, and malnutrition. They will once again put their lives at risk helping those we do not know, but who deserve a better chance at starting out