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170 Deliveries in One Month

I've lost count on the number of trips made to Haiti, but arriving this time has perhaps felt even more special than many.  It's almost been ten years since I first came to Haiti, where we were shown an over-grown plot of farmland with an old derelict mission house on it.  This was the land our local partners hoped would one day give birth to a new hospital for the Northern region.

With the memories of that trip flooding back, I'm truly humbled by what God has allowed us to be a part of since.  Ten years on from that first visit and I see a hospital more alive than we could have ever imagined!

Last month alone, the maternity unit did 170 deliveries, 59 of which were emergency C-Sections! On one single night our amazing Head of Maternity did 5 C-Sections.  Then there's our neonatal unit, in many ways a victim of its own success now.  Originally designed for around 8-10 babies, it now typically operates with many more, even as many as 16 last week.  Then there's the surgical department (a fairly new service), which on my first day here was performing life saving surgery on a baby who I'm informed would have died otherwise.  Across from the surgery our new Emergency Department is just a month or so away from completion, which will increase the hospitals bed capacity by another 15 beds, specifically for emergency care.

As I take in the large patient numbers and infrastructural improvements, the personal stories as always strike me deeper.  One of the mums/staff from Maison de Benediction who tragically had a bad stroke earlier this year has progressed beyond my wildest dreams since my last trip in July.  3 months ago she nervously sat talking with us, vulnerable and struggling to speak even a single word.  Now, whilst still severely impaired by her stroke, she walks with a greater sense of confidence, self-esteem and worth, smiling and talking significantly more.

Yet, amidst all the surface positives, the meetings I'm attending highlight some of the on-going realities and challenges faced by the team here.  To name but a few an increase in patient numbers pressing the almost critical need for more staff, services like neonatal in fairly urgent need of new equipment, and a solar system needing an upgrade to tackle the increased electrical demands.  These are good problems to have really, and reflect the ever-increasing reputation of the hospital in the north.  However, they also act as an important reminder of how important our on-going support is and how much more we all have to do.