This must change.

Did you see the news?

Second Mile Haiti just broke ground on the Postpartum Unit at Strong Start Maternity Center.

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What’s a postpartum unit? And why are we building one? 

Good questions. 

We’re building a postpartum unit because you can’t give women a safe place to give birth without also creating a safe space for them to rest, recuperate and bond with their new babies.

But let’s back up a bit further.

As you may know, Second Mile Haiti set off on a grand adventure last year when we announced plans to build a Maternal Health Care facility in Northern Haiti.

The location for the new center was situated just down the road from our flagship facility, the Rehabilitation Center where we help children and their families during and after their recovery from Severe Acute Malnutrition. 

 Bird’s eye view of the Rehabilitation Center.

Bird’s eye view of the Rehabilitation Center.

After 5 years of standing with families in this way, we knew we had to do something more to support families, and we needed to do this long before their kids got sick. 

So we got to work.

 Second Mile Psychologist, Staelle, at the recovery center with caregiver Odette whose daughter died while giving birth to twin girls Christine and Christella (not pictured).

Second Mile Psychologist, Staelle, at the recovery center with caregiver Odette whose daughter died while giving birth to twin girls Christine and Christella (not pictured).

Through the help of many dedicated Second Mile supporters, the Maternity Center opened for prenatal care at the end of March. Currently, our staff of three dedicated Haitian midwives provide prenatal care and postnatal check-ins three days a week, while offering family planning to local families on alternate days. 

 Head Midwife, Josephine Cossier, counsels a prenatal client at Strong Start.

Head Midwife, Josephine Cossier, counsels a prenatal client at Strong Start.

But the vision for Strong Start was never supposed to stop there. And here’s why:

New data was recently released which reveals that 1 in 12 Haitian children will not live to see their fifth birthday (up from 1 in 14 in 2015). 1

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Why do kids die? The reasons are varied, sad, and complex, but here’s the silver lining: 

We know enough about why kids die to know how we can help them survive. 

We know that least 50% of those deaths are at least partially caused by Malnutrition and 75% of them occur within the first year of life. 2    We also know that malnutrition is 100% preventable and common childhood illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea can also be prevented. 

 Caregiver at Second Mile’s Rehabilitation Center models hand hygiene for her young sister.

Caregiver at Second Mile’s Rehabilitation Center models hand hygiene for her young sister.

We know that babies born too early or too small are more likely to have health complications that could lead to their death. But we also know how to diagnose and treat many of the pregnancy complications that contribute to high rates of premature birth in Haiti. 

In other words, through prenatal care we can ensure that more babies stay in the cooker as long as possible.

 Client at Strong Start gets an ultrasound to rule out pregnancy complications

Client at Strong Start gets an ultrasound to rule out pregnancy complications

Finally, we know that an alive mother makes all the difference. Children whose mothers have died are 10% more likely to die young than children whose mothers are still living. 

How often is pregnancy deadly for women in Haiti? Too often.

A woman in Haiti is at least 3,000 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than a woman in the United States or Canada.

Right now, 1 in every 189 births results in a mother’s death and 1 out of every 50 Haitian women will die of maternal causes. 3

 A client at Strong Start gets her blood pressure screened to rule out hypertension and preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication.

A client at Strong Start gets her blood pressure screened to rule out hypertension and preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication.

THIS. MUST. CHANGE. And you can help.

We wouldn’t share the heartbreaking statistics if there wasn’t a way to change them. 

Skilled maternal-health workers save lives.

At Strong Start, our three talented midwives have a combined total of 14 years of higher education and they are more than ready to step up to the crisis at hand.

At Second Mile Haiti we are nearly ready to add labor and delivery to the list of services offered at the Maternity Center. But there are a few things we need your help with before we can begin.

  1. We need more supporters to give monthly.

  2. We need more supporters to give monthly.

  3. We need more supporters to give monthly.

Now, I said there were a few things we needed your help with but really it comes down to just one.

Here’s the thing, we would never promise to offer a service we couldn’t sustain. Monthly supporters are exactly that. Sustainers. 

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If you truly want to get involved in changing lives become a monthly donor today. 

There’s one more thing. 

And it’s a biggie. 

We also know that breastfeeding saves lives. But breastfeeding is hard. And it doesn’t always happen for mothers and their newborns on the first, the second, or even the tenth attempt. But here’s what we know. 

We know that mothers and babies who are able to establish successful breastfeeding within the first hour of life are infinitely more likely to have success in the subsequent days and months. 

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That’s where the postpartum unit comes in. If you’ve given birth or know someone who has you may recall that feeding the baby is a big deal. Entire hospital are changing almost everything about what they do in the hours after baby is born so that parents and babies can get the breastfeeding thing down. 

 To learn more about this project and the funds needed to complete it, email us at connect@secondmilehaiti.org

To learn more about this project and the funds needed to complete it, email us at connect@secondmilehaiti.org

Women in Haiti should have the same support… more support in fact, not less. The stakes are that high. 

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You can help keep mothers alive….. and newborns alive….. and keep families together. Give today to help us finish.