It is January 23rd, 2018, and Miss Philomène Thelemaque is at Midwives for Haiti headquarters at dawn to pack up the mobile clinic; she is preparing to head out to rural Selpetre. Philomène is a graduate of the second class of the Nadene Brunk Eads School. She has worked with the Mobile Prenatal Clinic since its inception in the fall of 2010. Now she is the leader of the program that treks out to 24 rural villages a month and sees as many as 150 women for pre- and postnatal care a day.
As she packs up the day’s medications, blood pressure cuffs and patient files, 3 more Midwives for Haiti graduates in colorful scrubs join her for the day’s work.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Central Plateau, Norgelin Tita collects her 3 year old daughter, Jazzie Masse, to start the long walk to the Selpetre Mobile Clinic site. Because it is early in the year, and early in the morning, the sun is not too hot and the air is not too thick. They take off on foot from their home, carefully navigating rough, rock covered roads and overgrown footpaths.
Philomène, her team, and a couple of current Midwives for Haiti students hop in the Land Cruiser to start the bumpy ride through rivers and rough roads to Selpetre. Working on the mobile clinic is not an easy job. Philomène will attest that the long, hot hours in the Land Cruiser and in makeshift clinics along rural roads take a toll. But all Midwives for Haiti students commit to working in rural, high-need settings before they enter the classroom. And Selpetre holds a special place in Philomène’s heart: it is her hometown. She recognizes the curve of the road as the car pulls near the clinic site- her father will host today’s clinic in his home.
Norgelin and her daughter are already there when the car pulls up with the staff and students of the clinic. She is surrounded by dozens of local women who have also walked, sometimes many hours, to line up for the day’s services.
The Mobile Clinic midwives start every clinic with an education session for all attending women. The students help out as they lead a session of songs and pictures of important warning signs in pregnancy. Little Jazzie is there as well to take it all in. Midwives, students, new mamas, expecting moms, and their children all experience the importance of the Mobile Prenatal Clinic in areas that had little to no obstetrical care before the clinic existed.
On this day, woman after woman is cared for by the team with love and compassion. Little Jazzie stands by outside as her mother has her blood pressure tested, along with other routine parts of a prenatal exam.
In Haiti, only 25% of rural women will have access to a skilled birth attendant during delivery. Screening these mothers for high risk complications during pregnancy and providing education on when to seek help mean more mothers have a greater chance to have a safe pregnancy and healthy birth. The Mobile Clinic not only delivers these services, but promotes the expectations of quality, compassionate care for mothers.
Today’s clinic, and each of the 24 monthly clinics run by Philomène and her team, is only possibly because of people of like you. The Mobile Clinic is entirely donor-funded, and cannot continue without your support. Please help keep the Mobile Clinic on the road another year.
Cover photo credit: Phalonne Pierre Louis
Blog by: Brandy Blue