Calling All Babies! HUFH's New Well-Baby Initiative
A call went out from Hands Up for Haiti’s Community Health Workers (TSKs) to the residents of the rural and impoverished community of Robillard in the north of Haiti: “Bring your babies, from newborn to 6 months, to be checked by Hands Up for Haiti’s doctors and nurses; we want to make sure they are healthy.”
16 babies came and were examined and treated as necessary - one, Ilus Wenderlove,
arrived just in time: 29 days old and weighing only 7 pounds, she was feverish and had a swollen belly. HUFH staff rushed her immediately to a local hospital, where she was evaluated and will be treated through HUFH’s Pediatric Emergency Medical and Surgical Fund.
Thankfully, the other babies examined that day were healthy, and parents were grateful for the care and guidance they received. They are healthy appearing, beautiful infants, being lovingly cared for by their parents: HOPE in real time.
THIS all happened through HUFH’s new WELL-BABY INITIATIVE: BIRTH TO SIX MONTHS PROGRAM
HUFH already runs prenatal care programs at three sites, providing medical care, nutrition and education to expectant moms, and postnatal checkups where we informally check on the newborns. We also run malnutrition programs in five communities which, in accordance with international protocols, treat children only between the ages of six months and five years.
But we asked ourselves: “Why wait till 6 months to screen for malnutrition and other illnesses?” At HUFH we believe that babies deserve good preventative care, much the same as in countries where resources are not limited. By promoting good nutritional and health practices for newborns, we can ensure they will never need to enroll in our malnutrition program.
Our new Well-Baby initiative started this week, with Nurse Verline at the helm. Babies born to mothers in our prenatal care program will be seen on a regular basis. In addition, our TSKs will scour the communities that we serve and invite all infants to be assessed regularly as well. Infants with health problems will be referred for examination and treatment by our doctors.
This new initiative is building a health care bridge for our communities: providing care during pregnancy, right through childbirth into infancy, and then into childhood.
People ask if we are making a difference in Haiti. With programs like this, we can emphatically say yes.