Every few weeks we post a picture like this one. You get a nice aerial shot of bricks, and boards, and rocks and trees. And if you’ve been following along, these photos are exciting!
But for some of you, these photos might leave you wanting more. More information! More progress updates! More answers!
Who will we serve? What services will we offer? When will we start?!
No fear! In just a few days you can hear the answers to these questions and more during a Facebook Live on Saturday, February 10th.
But in the meantime...
If you’re wondering "why a Maternity Center?" here’s the scoop:
Too many women don’t have access to quality maternal care and necessary education during their pregnancies. As a result, life-threatening complications like anemia, infections, and pre-eclampsia go undiagnosed and untreated. This affects not only women and the children they will bring into this world, but entire communities. The health of women affects us all!
Today, thousands of Haitian women die each year as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. And one in 25 infants don't live past the first 30 days of life. We’d like to stop that.
How will we make a difference and when will we start?
The Strong Start Maternity Center will serve women and families in Northern Haiti by offering quality maternal care-- identifying complications before it’s too late-- and providing care and follow-up for mothers and newborns in the critical postpartum window and beyond.
We start on February 26th. Yes, this February. In just 29 days!
We will start by providing prenatal care and education and eventually, we will open the birthing and postpartum unit. As they say in Haiti “piti piti zwazo fè nich li.” Little by little the bird makes it’s nest.” Only time will tell how fast and how far we grow.
Ready for a tour?
Here's the Prenatal Clinic. In this building there are four consultation rooms, one supply room/laboratory, one electrical room, and three offices.
What will happen in each of this rooms? From Monday through Thursday pregnant women will come for their initial and follow-up consultations. Midwives will help women know how far along they are in their pregnancy, screen and test for complications, provide education, make a birth plan, and see to each women’s specific nutritional needs.
We will be able to test for and treat anemia and common STIs to avoid the severe consequences these conditions pose for mother and child. We will be able to monitor and attend to women with high-blood pressure and provide special care for women with certain risk factors, including helping women access life-saving care when complications arise.
Can you imagine losing your partner or mother because of an undiagnosed pregnancy complication? Can you imagine leaving your kids without a mother because you didn’t have access to a prenatal vitamin?
That stops here.
During their visits both during pregnancy and postpartum, women can meet with a psychologist, discuss their health concerns, and get lactation support.
Here’s what’s happening on site: The roof is being installed in three phase--- the first two phases are already finished! And by next Friday, the final phase will be complete.
We started tiling the consultation rooms and offices this week. That too, will be finished at the end of this week. Next week, we will install the windows and doors and paint the rooms.
By mid-week, next week, we will have started laying brick in the waiting area. And most importantly, the plumbing and electricity will also be finished by the end of next week. The goal is to finish the Prenatal Clinic completely by Feb 9th!
Isn't that a lot of work?! Yes. But as long as we remember to breath in and out we can definitely pull this off.
Alright, let's take the walkway, and head out to the Education Center.
This lovely walkway will soon be covered in brick and provide passage from the prenatal waiting area to the education building.
The cement work on the education building is nearly finished and we have been busy cutting out frames for the roof. We hope to start directing our attention to the roof next week. As you can see, the masons have been quite busy. Just look at those shiny, smooth walls!
The Education Center is the heart of our efforts. We want women to have all the information they need to take care of themselves and their children. The center will be open for prenatal classes Monday-Thursday, new mother courses on Fridays, and on the weekends for family-oriented classes geared towards partners and support people.
Standing in the education center and looking back towards prenatal building, you can catch a glimpse of our Founder's Wall. We are so honored to be working alongside so many passionate individuals to make this dream a reality. This wall sets those partnerships in stone... pun intended. While the names have yet to be inscribed, this is where Strong Start's Founding Members will be able to find their names. "Founding Members" are monthly donors and anyone else who has contributed $250 to become a Founding Member.
We still have several blocks waiting to be claimed. If you want to be a founding member, join us as a monthly donor or contribute $250 to the buildings here. We'll start inscribing names on Feb. 17th.
And last but certainly not least: What about food and water? Do we have access to water? Will women and their families have access to healthy food on site? Yes and yes.
We are working hard to finish two supporting structures: the Outdoor Kitchen and the Water Tower.
The water tower is located next to the well we dug when this project was first getting start. A pump in the base of the well will pump water into a tank on the tower. The ground work for this system has already been laid, meaning just as soon as it's finished, we will have running water throughout the facility.
The outdoor kitchen will be a place that families can purchase meals at cost during pre and postnatal visits, during education classes, and even in the future when families come to the center to deliver. We will also be providing Chaya and eggs (a protein-rich, green snack) to all women who attend Prenatal Visits.
Imagine the smells of rich, Haitian foods and groups of women nourishing themselves with a healthy meal. A courtyard eating area (not yet pictured) will be a lovely place to stop and sit for spell.
As you can see, construction has been moving fast. Now that you’re up to speed, you may be wondering how you can help us prepare to open the center on February 26th.
We still need the following items and/or donations to cover the costs of purchasing these items.
1) 2 Ultrasound Probes ($1100 each)
2) 2 Ipads
Does anyone have an extra iPad just laying around collecting dust? Let us know! We are looking for two iPads in good condition, generation 3 or later. The iPads will be used with the ultrasound technology and also for Electronic Patient Records. Email Jenn: firstname.lastname@example.org
3) 1 Solar Suitcase- ($1500)
The Solar Suitcase is a complete solar electric system that includes two 20 watt solar panels, a 14 amp-hour lithium ferrous phosphate battery, a 15A charge controller, two rechargeable LED headlamps and a phone charger. The Basic Plus Solar Suitcase offers, a AA/AAA battery charger with batteries, and a fetal Doppler. The suitcase will provide enough power to get us
4) Solar Chargers and Outdoor Lamps-$250
We will buy an assortment of solar chargers and lamps to help provide addtional power.
5) 2 massage tables- $300
The massage tables, sold here in Haiti, will be used as patient exam tables.
Want to contribute towards any of these items?
We hope you enjoyed your tour and we hope to see you soon as a Founding Member of the Strong Start Maternity Center. If you want to receive news and updates, be sure to sign up for our newsletter today. We promise to send only the best to your inbox.
xx Thanks for reading!