Help send medicine and equipment
to Midwives for Haiti with Maria!
Some of you might know Maria, my wife and best friend. She will be going to Haiti at the beginning of May, and I want to tell you why.
Even before the terrible earthquake in January of this year, even before four devastating hurricanes in a row during 2008, the country of Haiti was desperate for medical support of all kinds. But for Haitian mothers in childbirth, desperate meant that they were 7 times more likely to die in childbirth than an American mother, and that their newborns were almost 10 times more likely to die than an American newborn. Complications such as infections were commonplace.
An American midwife visiting Haiti 6 years ago felt something had to be done for these mothers and newborns and started Midwives for Haiti (http://midwivesforhaiti.org), a volunteer organization that would both serve Haitian mothers and newborns and teach Haitians to provide care as well. Midwifes from the US and other countries took turns giving care before, during, and after birth, and at the same time shared their skills with Haitians.
Then came the hurricanes in 2008, and then came the earthquake in January, 2010, which left well over 230,000 dead and a million and a half Haitians homeless. In the hardest-hit areas virtually every building was destroyed or damaged too badly to use, let alone repair. The already-difficult challenge of helping mothers having children became many times more difficult as facilities and equipment were now needed even more but were far more scarce. Without clean water or other forms of sanitation, infection became an even greater danger.
Midwives for Haiti put out requests for any midwife who could possibly volunteer to take some time to come to Haiti to help with the overwhelming need for support. In addition, they requested that these volunteers do whatever they could to bring urgently needed medical supplies and equipment with them. Volunteers would also have to pay their own way to Haiti and back; the organization’s resources were already completely committed to the work already being done.
Maria has been a midwife for over 30 years, working at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and now at Gifford Medical Center in Vermont. When she learned of Midwives for Haiti’s call for volunteers, she realized she would have to go to help out. She has paid for her flights there and back already with her own funds. Now she is raising money to buy as much medicine and supplies as she can take with her. Every quarter somebody donates can pay for another treatment to stop hemorrhaging; every ten dollars will pay for treating three infections. More equipment such as stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs are needed badly for midwives to do even the most basic examinations of pregnant women. If enough money can be raised, handheld ultrasound devices could be purchased which would allow far better evaluation of both mother and child.
Maria set out to raise money to buy medicine and equipment by asking shoppers at the Hanover, NH food coop for donations and emailing friends with a request for support. The responses have been wonderful, but a modest amount more would allow her to purchase an additional ultrasound device. So I'd like to help her out by raising money at the two schools where I work, Monroe School in New Hampshire, and Rumney
$5 or $10 from a majority of staff would make up the remainder of the amount needed. But whatever you can spare, even if only a quarter, will be put to use. Please put it in an envelope with your name on it and get it to us however you can. Any checks should be made out to Maria Cabri. Absolutely 100% of what you give will be converted to medicine, supplies, or equipment that will go to Haiti with her and be put to work upon her arrival.
For whatever you wish to contribute, we thank you, and the Haitian mothers and newborns you will be helping will be deeply appreciative.