Every Life Matters: Maternal and Child Health in Haiti
Years ago, when we first went to Côtes-de-Fer, we were struck by the poverty and vulnerability of the people we met. We were moved by the impact a lack of access to healthcare had on the community, especially the women and children. At the time, the nearest hospital facility was over 90 miles and a 3-hour journey away over difficult terrain. This means that for many local residents, the journey was impossible. After a careful assessment and discussion, we identified that a healthcare center was the greatest need.
Fast forward to March 2017 and thanks to the generous and collaborative effort of so many partners – and a lot of hard work – we opened the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Center for Health (BJSH). It really is a beacon of hope for this community – but more than that, a reminder that their lives matter.
Jacinthe was well past her due date when she arrived for care at the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Center for Health (BJSH) in Côtes-de-Fer, Haiti. The doctor on duty ran tests and confirmed that Jacinthe’s baby was in danger. He rushed her into the operating room for an emergency c-section. When the baby was delivered, she was completely blue and not breathing.
“I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t fully conscious and I didn’t realize what was happening.” Jacinthe, mother
Dr. Dorothy Emiliem – our project officer and an anesthesiologist – was called to the hospital to support the surgical team. She used physical stimulation, suction, and oxygen to get the baby breathing.
Within minutes, the newborn was fully breathing, crying, and alert.
“The doctors and the hospital are a blessing to me. They saved my child’s life. I will tell other mothers in my community to come to the hospital. If I had delivered at home, like my other children, I would have lost this baby.”
The BJSH is the culmination of a huge outpouring of kindness and compassion. Since opening its doors, the hospital has treated over 8,000 patients and delivered more than 130 healthy babies.
We are proud to provide pregnant women with a safe place to bring their babies into this world. Every baby deserves a chance at a healthy start and the BJSH is providing the place for this to happen.