Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its extreme poverty is the result of many factors over its tumultuous history. Haiti has been plagued by weak and/or corrupt governments. The country has suffered continued exploitation of its natural resources by surrounding countries as well as at the hands of its own citizens; and experienced destruction by natural disasters including a devastating earthquake in 2010 from which the country has yet to emerge. Haiti’s troubled history has left the country unable to stabilize, let alone advance. While most countries in the region demonstrated economic growth over the past three decades, Haiti’s economy declined by half.
Haiti is the most dangerous place for a woman to give birth in the western hemisphere; this small country has the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the region. A Haitian woman has a lifetime risk of 1:47 of dying in childbirth (as compared to 1:8,000 for women in highly developed nations). By far, the leading cause of these deaths is because a skilled medical professional was not available.
Poverty means Haitians lack access to healthcare, especially to well-trained doctors and nurses; they lack the resources to feed their families; they lack the funds to send their children to school. While the median income is about $1,200 annually, most Haitians live on less than $1.25 a day. Without the ability to sustain them, malnutrition is high. Malnutrition impacts everyone, but it is the children who suffer the most. About 25 percent of all children and youth suffer from chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition contributes to high rates of both diarrheal and respiratory diseases among children. All of these problems conspire to prevent most Haitian children from living beyond their fifth birthday. Nearly 60 percent of all Haitian children die before they reach five years of age.
Holy Cross Hospital (Hôpital St. Croix) – Léogâne
Hôpital Sainte Croix (HSC) is located in Léogâne, twenty miles west of Port-au-Prince. Started as a small outpatient clinic in 1968, the hospital grew to be the regional medical center serving the peninsula of Haiti. Many of the buildings on the HSC campus were among the 90% of buildings destroyed by the quake in the Léogâne area. After the earthquake, HSC treated inpatients and outpatients in the original section of the hospital while renovations on the 3-story building were being completed. The $2.4 million project to rebuild, repair and renovate HSC and the nearby FSIL Nursing School culminated in a dedication ceremony in July 2012.
The hospital is the center for compassionate Christian healthcare for the people of Léogâne. It has 60 bed inpatient beds with 3 operating rooms, maternity care, a new dental clinic and medical care for both chronic and acute illnesses. Physicians are on site 24/7. They see approximately 400 inpatients and 1500 outpatients per month. [Click here for more information]
FSIL Nursing School – Léogâne
Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti (Faculté des Sciences Infirmières de l’Université Episcopale d’Haït) in Léogâne (FSIL) is a nursing school supported through a partnership of the Haiti Nursing Foundation, MBF and the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.
FSIL is currently the only baccalaureate nursing school in Haiti. The school is part of the Episcopal University of Haiti and upon completion of their four-year program students receive an academic degree in nursing (BSN). This is a critical distinction and a major advancement in nursing education in Haiti. While other nursing programs exist in Haiti, those programs train nurses to perform only specific tasks. FSIL’s unique full baccalaureate curriculum is preparing Haitian nurses to think, to develop the problem solving and critical thinking skills needed to practice patient centered, competency based nursing care.
FSIL has also launched a master’s program in advanced nursing practice. Nurses who complete the three-year program will be Family Nurse Practitioners. Coursework will also prepare them to serve as future nursing school faculty for FSIL as well as other nursing schools throughout Haiti. [Click here for more information]
Darbonne Maternity Clinic – Léogâne
The Darbonne Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Clinic is a comprehensive, holistic center for maternal health located in the Léogâne district in Southeastern Haiti; it is about a four hour drive from the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince.
The goal of the clinic is to substantially reduce to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the region by ensuring that 900 at-risk pregnant women deliver their babies at a safe in-patient clinic attended by a medical professional (doctor and/or nurse-midwife) who have access to all necessary medicines; by training and supporting traditional birth attendants for women who chose to deliver at home; and by providing weekly community health education to women in the 19 villages that comprise the Darbonne community.
In addition the additional goal to reduce child mortality rates among infants and children by staffing 2,400 well-baby visits each year with a pediatrician and/or pediatric nurse and by staffing more than 8,000 primary healthcare visits for infants and children under five each year. [Click here for more information]
Suzette serves as a partnership facilitator in Haiti. Suzette assists mission teams that visit Haiti by matching them with Haitian partners, coordinating logistics, arranging study opportunities that explain the context of Haiti, and providing other types of support to enable the teams’ effectiveness. Suzette also assists MBF with communication and facilitation on MBF projects in Haiti.