A maternal and child health center built by Samaritan’s Purse is providing women with information and medical help that they otherwise wouldn’t receive
A few years ago, Jean Gaston Ovide began praying for a maternal and child health clinic in his community in Haiti.
The 50-year-old was concerned because his wife, three children, and neighbors often had difficulties getting to a medical facility to receive even the most basic medical care. He recalled several occasions where pregnant women in labor would resort to using a motorbike taxi to get to a hospital nearly an hour away–an especially dangerous journey at night on unlit, rough roads.
This November, God answered Jean’s prayers when Samaritan’s Purse completed construction on a new clinic about 15 feet from Jean’s house in Fondoux in the Petit Goave area.
He was familiar with Samaritan’s Purse work from when we drilled a well and installed a water pump in his village in the aftermath of the earthquake. His children also received Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes from our team and went through The Greatest Journey discipleship program.
Jean’s excitement over the clinic is evident and he and his family are “praising the Lord and [thankful] for Samaritan’s Purse for the work being done for the benefit of not only the Fondoux community, but also other mountain communities nearby.”
The neighborhood shared his enthusiasm. We partnered with a local church to build and develop the clinic. Church members helped clean up the clinic site and prepare it for the grand opening on Nov. 11.
The long green and white building now stands just off the main road in Fondoux, with a bright banner advertising services. The clinic, which includes three consultation rooms, a triage room, and a pharmacy, is open two days a week. An average of 80 patients who come in each week are receiving more than medical care.
“A devotion is shared with the patients as they wait to be seen and the church’s pastor visits often to meet with those waiting,” said Brianna Wilson, the Samaritan’s Purse medical program manager in Haiti. “The clinic is a place where people can receive both physical and spiritual healing.”
As part of the Samaritan’s Purse Maternal and Child Health program in Haiti, the clinic focuses on educating women on important pregnancy and child health information, in addition to providing medical services. Physicians and maternal and child health volunteers instruct on topics including the need to get vaccinated, delivering in a health facility, breastfeeding, and danger signs in pregnancy and in a newborn. These preventive messages help patients recognize and address health complications before they become life-threatening.
The clinic also places a special emphasis on the health of children under 5 years old. Along with other services, the medical staff spends considerable time preventing and treating diarrhea and respiratory infections – the two main causes of death in Haitian children of this age group.
“Maternal and infant mortality in Haiti is very high and this is no different in the community of Fondoux,” Wilson said. “The aim of the clinic is to reduce these rates by providing quality and accessible medical care for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children under 5.”
Thanks to the new clinic, parents in this community no longer have to taxi their sick children an hour away to find treatment. Women can have healthier pregnancies and medical care for their newborns. And as the health and well-being of Fondoux improves in the coming months and years, Jean can stand at his doorstep and see the reminder, 15 feet away, of the goodness and provision of God.