Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Letter about Haiti and report from UNICEF

Dear Friends & Family,

As many of you may know by now, I will be going to Haiti in May to volunteer in a midwifery training project, Midwives for Haiti! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to put my midwifery skills and training to good use and hope that you all can help support this experience!I will be teaching basic prenatal care skills and attending births along-side local student midwives.

The lack of skilled obstetrical workers makes Haiti the most dangerous place in the western hemisphere to have a baby. According to World Health Organization statistics 670 women die for every 100,000 births. That rate is 60 times higher than in the US.
In the rural areas of Haiti only 15% of births are attended by someone with the training and supplies needed to make birthing safe. Midwives for Haiti has been working since 2004 to train community midwives. The organization has received the support of the local population and the Ministry of Health.

I have attached the link to the organization’s website which provides a wealth of information about this inspiring and ambitious project. http://www.midwivesforhaiti.org

As a midwife, I have more time and skill to offer than I do funds, so I am writing to ask you to become a part of the Midwives for Haiti team by providing a donation to help support this life-saving work. Since the earthquake, it has become even more challenging to get much needed supplies into Hinche and delivered to the midwives. Additionally, there are 150 refugees that are also in need of supplies and assistance. Donations will help cover the purchase of much needed medical supplies, a “medical” translator, and possibly food and other supplies for the clinic.

Any donation you make will be greatly appreciated and judiciously used. There are a few ways you can make a difference.

1. A check made out to me will allow me to purchase desperately needed supplies and non-prescription medicines to carry into Haiti in May. This will immediately impact the lives of the poorest mothers and mothers-to-be in our hemisphere. Donations may also be used to cover cost of a translator to help with teaching the local midwives and in-country travel. If you would prefer to gather/purchase supplies directly, please let me know and I will send you of list of items needed, also see the list below.

2. Or if you would prefer you can purchase medical supplies via Cascade medical supplies
at http://www.1cascade.com/ or (503) 595-1720 and have the supplies shipped to me. Currently no supplies are getting in to Haiti, so ordering and shipping to me or making a donation ensures that the clinic will receive what is needed. See the list below in an upcoming post....

Please send your donations to my home address (if you don't have it drop me an email). I will be leaving in mid-May but in order to have time to purchase supplies would need to have your donations by March 30th.
Thanks so much for your support. I will be keep you all updated as preparations continue.
Aerlyn Pfeil, CPM
Phone: 503.539.5733
email: aerlynpfeil@gmail.com

UNICEF on Materntiy cases in Haiti:

"Since the earthquake, maternity wards have been overwhelmed with surgical cases, leaving only the most at-risk deliveries attended. But life, of course, goes on. Medicins Sans Frontieres, just one group of medical volunteers in the country, reports an average of 12 deliveries a day [at their location], 40 percent of which are by caeserean-section. Premature births are another common, but regrettable, result of the trauma inflicted on mothers by the quake.

Health workers on the ground are doing all they can to prevent more deaths—a second wave of fatalities that lurks in the debris of the ad hoc play-yards children run through barefoot, and in the bacteria that thrives in crowded encampments lacking basic sanitation. Skin ulcers, gastro-intestinal illnesses and dehydration are already a problem.

The vaccination campaign will last about two weeks and aim to reach 500,000 children. Of course, there are many children who will not benefit from the immunizations, due to lack of access or already weakened immune systems.

And then, again, there are the unborn—120,000 Haitian women are pregnant today. Half of them have been affected by the quake. Of the 7,000 mothers who are due this month, 1,000 are likely to miscarry, according to the United Nations Population Fund."

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