Keeping our pregnant patients STI-free!

MamaBaby is very happy to have begun testing its pregnant patients for sexually transmitted infections, which are very prevalent in the population we serve. Because infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are generally asymptomatic, the only way to detect the majority of cases is through screening. On Thursdays mornings, our nurse Miss Nadege Pierre gives our pregnant moms a comprehensive STI lesson along with the ever popular condom demonstration and a demonstration of the speculum exam. For most women, this will be their first speculum exam. We believe that it is very important for the women to understand what the exam will entail so that they are as comfortable as possible with the not-so-comfortable speculum exam. The last thing we want is for women to be scarred by the experience and to avoid STI testing in the future! So far, we have tested women at an average gestation of 33 weeks of pregnancy and average age of 27. The rates of infection have shocked us, and motivate us to test as many women as possible. Here are the prevalence rates we have found so far:

Syphilis 2.27%
Gonorrhea 5.88%
Chlamydia 58.8% 
BV/Trichomonas 62.9%
Candida 1.12% 

No recent HIV +

These numbers are frightening for any population, but they have much worse implications in pregnant women. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause eye infection and pneumonia in the neonate and if the infections progress in women, they can affect the entire reproductive tract, leaving a women infertile and in excruciating pain. We are happy to prevent this progression and protect their babies from terrible infections.  BV and Trichomonas can cause preterm labor and prematurity. We hope to avoid this complication and give these infants a fighting chance in a country that has the highest infant mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere. 

All patients with a sexually transmitted infection receive treatment for themselves and their partners and are given condoms. Many women are in the unfortunate circumstance of being with a man who has several partners. In a relationship such as this, the women are aware that they are one of many partners that their husband has. In this situation, treating our patient and even their partner will likely not be enough, as the man will simply get reinfected and infect our pregnant mom again. We do extensive education with not only these women, but all moms who are positive for an STI about the importance of protecting herself and her baby through condom use or abstinence until the baby is born, at the very least.

   

 

 

Miss Nadge Pierre is testing our patients in one of the rooms in the birth center. We also have lovely nursing student volunteers helping us with the chlamydia and gonorrhea rapid tests.

   

 

 

This is our lab station where our volunteer is performing the rapid tests from cervical swabs. This is also where we distribute medication and give patient education. 

 

Sharareh (Sherry) Firouzbakht
UC Irvine School of Medicine - MS 4
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update on our cervical cancer clinic

Each week, our Friday seminar to educate Haitian women about cervical cancer and STIs grows, as more and more excited women flock to MamaBaby to learn more about how to protect themselves. There are a few ways that women are learning about our program. The most popular way is through the encouragement of our amazing nurse, Miss Nadege, as she has visited multiple areas of Cap Haitien and L'Acul du Nord, which are the largest zones surrounding our clinic. She has hiked mountains that motorcycles do not reach, as motorcycle is the preferred mode of transportation outside of the main highway here in Haiti, and has spoken to 1,355 women since the start of the program. Some of these women are outside of the age range for our program and therefore do not return for testing, but Miss Nadege is making a huge impact on them nonetheless. She explains how HPV (the human papilloma virus) can cause cervical cancer, hands out pamphlets on the topic, and explains the importance of condom use. Sometimes she meets men who are also interested in this topic and hands out condoms along with pamphlets explaining their proper use.

She is also planning and organizing large seminars in farther cities and villages such as Camp Louis, a large coastal village. The other way that women are learning about the screening is word of mouth. After we give women their results and explain what that means for them, many women tell us that they will definitely encourage their friends and family to come for testing. They even offer to post fliers in their church or hand out a few business cards. Once again we can see that empowering women benefits the entire society.  Our partner, St Francois de Sales, has also signed up many of their own patients who fall within the age range.

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This is a map of our outreach so far

Miss Nadege doing the very popular condom demonstration at the class on Fridays.

New patients come every Wednesday to be seen at our partner hospital St. Francois. Here we have GYN beds that make the exam much more comfortable for the patients and the visualization easier for the providers. 

 

“Well Women in Northern Haiti” Grant Program Cervical cancer and Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening and Treatment Program

September has been a busy month for MamaBaby Haiti, as we started a cervical cancer screening clinic in conjunction with a local hospital, St. Francois de Sales. From painting the room to installing curtains to decorating with as many butterflies as we could find, our clinic is finally finished and began welcoming patients in early September for their free cervical cancer screening and STI testing. Our stellar nurse and community educator, Miss Nadege, goes out into multiple communities in Northern Haiti to motivate women to join us in the fight against cervical cancer by taking advantage of our services so we can catch lesions before they become cancerous. Although she assures them that we offer the educational seminar every Friday, at which time we can create their medical record card, test them for HIV/syphilis, offer contraception options and prepare them for their screening on the following Wednesday, we find that women are so excited and eager, that they arrive at MamaBaby Haiti the same week. This enthusiasm from the Haitian women is truly contagious and makes the Friday class not only educational, but really fun, too. The women are full of questions about cervical cancer, what it means to find a lesion, and full of laughs when demonstrate proper condom use on a silicone penis model. They are hungry for knowledge about their health and we are happy to share it, because when you teach one woman, she is very likely to share her knowledge with her family and friends. This is the beautiful thing about empowering women. 

So what does this program look like on the ground? 

Women come to MamaBaby Haiti on Fridays at 8am, where they receive an educational seminar on sexually transmitted infections, cervical cancer, and family planning. This class openly discusses valuable topics that all Haitian women should know, and creates an open forum for what are often taboo subjects. Following the class, women get tested for HIV and syphilis, and can choose to receive longterm contraception, including DepoProvera injections (3 months of protection) and Jadelle contraceptive implants (5 years of protection). After completing the education, women schedule an appointment to meet us at St. Francois on Wednesday, where they receive testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and candida. Here they are also screened for cervical cancer using a method called Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA). In order to meet criteria for VIA, patients must be between 30 and 60 years old. Following their exam, we sit with each women to explain their results, answer questions, and give free treatment. 

Sincerely,

Sherry Firouzbakht, WWINH Program Manager at MamaBaby Haiti

 

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Here's Miss Nadege teaching Northern Haitian women about women's health issues.

We have been working hard in the clinic every Wednesday to see as many patients as possible. So far, 117 women have been screened by 7 providers. Everyone is given treatment for their STIs and if necessary, sent home with partner treatment as well. So far, we have had 100% success rate in treating partners who have needed to return for injectable medication. For women with precancerous lesions, we will see them back in a few short months to confirm their lesions and treat with cryotherapy. We hope that we can keep up with the high demand, as more and more women are coming each week.

Miss Nadege reviewing a medical record to prepare medication for a patient

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A couple of our exam rooms

Our Ambulance is sick.

Sounds like an oxymoron right? That our Ambulance would be sick... But it is true. Our tried and true Land Cruiser that we use to transport mama's & babies who need emergent care to the Hospital, has indeed broken down. We have spent the last two weeks working through the scenarios of how to get it up and running again at the absolute best price. As you can imagine, Haiti does not have the necessary parts in country which leaves us with the options of sending individual parts down, a whole new used engine, or shipping a 'new" used car?  Cost scenarios and expected successful outcome have us landing on finding a used engine in good condition, having it shipped to Haiti and then having our Haitian mechanic install it. 

To accomplish this task we will need $2500. As daunting as the amount may feel to us, we know that the ability to safely and quickly transport Women in an emergency (not on the back of a motorbike) is worth the price. Right now though, the clinic just does not have any margin to pay for this engine. We have found a good deal in Colorado and know how to get it to our clinic, but just do not have the means to do so... We are hoping that the many people who believe in our clinic and want to see Haitian women have access to a safe birth, will surround us and help us to quickly gather these funds.

This MamaBaby Community is making a global impact and daily changing the lives of many.  You all are a vital part the MamaBaby Story because without you, we truly would not be able to do what we do.

We are 100% committed to the women we serve and part of that commitment is making sure our Ambulance is up running well. Help us spread the word. Thank You! 

Donate to Ambulance now

Here is what our Ambulance typically looks like...

And here is what it looks like now!!

New Fundraisers & a Thank You

MamaBaby Haiti has two new fundraisers happening right now! 

Rent

The beautiful building that MamaBaby calls home has rent due every six months at $1000 a month. This means that on May 1st, $6000 is due to our landlord. We need your partnership in helping us continue to do this Beautiful work for the Haitian Mamas and Babies we serve every day!

Supplies

As I am sure you can imagine, getting the necessary supplies into Haiti is no small feat. Our wonderful volunteers are always asked to try and bring down supplies for our Stockroom, but even then, a back stock is always needed. In the states, everything we could possibly need is just a Walgreens away. In Haiti though, If we do not have it already in the center at the time of need, it literally can be a situation of life and death! 

We want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who continue to believe in and support the work that MamaBaby Haiti does. We could not do this without your help! We are currently working on getting Stories from our Haitian Team and Mothers so that you can hear in their own words, what an Impact MamaBaby Haiti truly makes.