Nurses a Force for Change
Today on International Nurses Day and the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, Second Mile Haiti would like to acknowledge Nurses around the world and thank them for their life saving work. This year the International Council of Nurses has named today’s theme as: Nurses: A Force for change: improving health systems’ resilience.
The Nursing team at Second Mile care for some of the most vulnerable families in Haiti. Families who arrive at the center with little belongings but carrying a heavy burden of fear and despair. Mothers who have almost lost hope cling to children who are fighting for their lives. Our Nurses greet each referred family with the same empathy and humility that they have afforded to the hundreds of families that have entered Second Mile's gates. For families admitted to the program they are then by their side, day in and day out for up to 10 weeks offering care, compassion and patiently guiding them on the road to recovery. Put simply Second Mile Nurses through their tireless work create hope for a brighter future. As the children grow stronger so too do their caregivers. A special bond forms with our nurses, an unspoken connection that will continue for many months and years to come.
Malnutrition is a destructive force in families around the world, it is responsible for nearly half of all deaths in children under five. To end the cycle of malnutrition it takes a health system, a collective and comprehensive response which addresses the complex root causes. Second Mile takes a holistic approach to treating malnutrition which includes meeting a child’s immediate needs while empowering caregivers through education and small business opportunities. But we also work as part of a wider health system in Haiti. Our referrals come from local hospitals which our community health worker and psychologist visit regularly as well as orphanages and other organizations who are approached by desperate families. The Medika Mumba sachets we use in the treatment of malnourished children are produced by our partner organization Meds and Food for Kids here in Haiti. We refer and advocate for families to get into programs that support serious health conditions and children with disabilities. We proudly work with our partners on the ground in Haiti sharing knowledge and resources as a way to strengthen Haiti’s health system. This year we created and printed a comprehensive education booklet written by our Second Mile Heath team, for our recovery program but more importantly to be used as a resource to the wider health network.
Much like Florence Nightingale, the Nurses at Second Mile show courage and determination. Florence fought for equal health care for people regardless of faith or economic background an attribute Second Mile Haiti proudly shares. She believed that it was important to look after an individual's health, mental and physical, as well as sickness. If a child with malnutrition is just treated for sickness and then returned to a family who has little resources and knowledge, the cycle is likely to continue. When a child is treated in a safe and supportive environment with their mother by their side, a mother who is given every opportunity to learn about health, hygiene, literacy, business, agriculture and nutrition well then the cycle can be broken. Our program is evidence of just that. With guidance, care and support from Second Mile's health team, families begin to thrive. We see it everyday.
To our Nurses Kerline, Prestina and Guerda you are the backbone of our recovery program, your work is changing families lives and contributing to ending malnutrition in Haiti. Your commitment to your work as Nurses is inspiring and we, along so many families, thank you for going the second mile.
If you would like to show your support to Second Mile and the amazing work that our nursing team does then please consider making a donation today. Every donation, no matter how small, helps us keep our doors open to families in need and ensures they continue to get the best care possible.