Hello from our beautiful island home! This morning began as usual with our students singing in multipart harmony followed by a prayer. If you have been fortunate enough to be here in the morning, you know this is the Haitian tradition whenever people gather for a purpose. It is so inspiring to be there each morning and to feel the student’s strength of purpose.
We are approaching the halfway point in our classroom curriculum. This week, the students are focusing on some obstetrical emergencies, including shoulder dystocia and cord prolapse. We have had so many wonderful volunteers from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and New Zealand who have donated their time and expertise in the classroom and in clinical settings. We have also been reaching out more into the Haitian community to find Haitian experts who can enrich our program and also serve as role models for our students. We had a wonderful lecture on contraception presented by Myriam Paulèn, who provides family planning services at Hospital St. Therese and is one of our graduates from class 4! Next week, we will have three days that focus on HIV and TB presented by Dr. Constant who is the Zanmi Lasante expert on these topics for the Upper Central Plateau. We also had a lecture and workshop on IVs and drip rates presented by Ms. Merlande Dicady who is the Infermere Chef, Head Nurse, at Hospital St Therese. The students have been very appreciative of this effort.
Clinically, students have been busy in the hospital in all the usual places, including labor and delivery, antepartum, and post partum units. Perrine Stock RM, our Clinical Director has also arranged for our students to spend some time in the lab, the medical mamba nutritional program and in the family planning clinic. Students are also getting out into the community and doing teaching presentations at local schools, and orphanages on health topics, assisting with infant feeding and care at Azil and a lucky few have been out on home visits with staff and volunteers.
Students are also busy working on the new Community Module. In this module, each student is assigned to one of our Mobile Clinic sites. They have spent their first few clinics helping our wonderful Mobile Clinic team provide prenatal care, teaching and learning about how this program works. Soon, they will be going out into the community and finding the key community leaders – the pastor, the school principal, local matwons as well as women who come to the clinic and interviewing them. Using the information they gather, they will produce a community assessment. Their report will include key indicators they have gathered such as the estimates of birth rate, maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity as well as particular challenges the community faces such as water/food insecurity, terrain or weather difficulties, severe poverty, HIV, among others. This will prepare our students to assess a community that may be interested in setting up a clinic in the future.
The feed back from our preceptors, volunteers and our clinical coordinator is that this class is a very intelligent, motivated and hard working group of students who will graduate and go on to provide care for many women and babies in Haiti for years to come.
-Cindy Siegel, CNM, MSN, IBCLC
Education Coordinator, Midwives For Haiti
Learn more about our work.