It has been really busy. ..and it's really all about the students. Midwives for Haiti has 23 students who are now "graduated", but students must have a certain number of signatures for each skill, verifying competencies that a "skilled birth attendant" must have, according to the World Health Organization. So, our group of visiting nurses and midwives has worked in every possible setting, intensely teaching, observing, and signing our names , in the files of Haitian students who are highly motivated to show us what they know.
On Mobile Clinic: After a bumpy and scenic Jeep ride, we opened dusty suitcases inside the standard dusty concrete church in Randejois. On re-arranged wooden pews, covered with a clean sheet, Jenn and her Haitian student examined moms and babies who had delivered in the past few weeks...one baby only 4 days old, one about 11 days.. One mom had delivered at home with a matron, or untrained folk midwife. The other mom tried to get to the hospital in town, but it was her fifth baby, and it came fast, so it was born in the road. The good news is, all the moms and babies looked fine. Breast feeding going well, no one had infections, and Jenn said her student was smart and learned the newborn exam well. The ladies left with vitamins, birth control info, and baby clothes. This is the best we can do, and for local reality, it's very good.
At the hospital: On airy, shaded porch outside the hospital prenatal clinic today, we gathered 12 or so students in their bright pink scrubs, around a circle of wooden benches. As we shared trail mix, I taught on first trimester bleeding. Then Alicia reviewed the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia, the use of Mag Sulfate and anti-hypertensive meds, and I think she was impressed with their command of the material, as much as I was impressed with her excellent teaching. Jenn did more mother-baby assessments with her students in the postpartum area. The day went on...I gave blood at the Red Cross--a special personal tradition I observe, since traveling to Haiti makes me disallowed to give in the US. What the heck, they need it more in Haiti anyway.
In our compound classroom: In the afternoon, once the sun had really heated the house up, our entire 23-student group gathered for me to lead a lecture and demonstration reviewing suturing. We cranked up the fans while I drew on the white board, then assembled instruments, suture material, gloves, all the stuff. Then, with Dr Steve Eads, CNM Mary Martin, CPM Jenna Schmitt, and our Haitian midwife teachers, many blocks of foam were lacerated, and then repaired, first by the teachers and then by the students. It started nice and tidy, and it ended successfully, but there was a very very loud and sweaty 90 minutes when we had suturing madness!
In the evening, the house relaxed into enjoying Steve's homemade ice cream, Nadene's home-made bread, the usual adult beverages, all shared with new and old friends who work together in the house this week. It has been a great week,and each person here completely gets it: It's about the moms and babies,indeed...EVERY MOTHER COUNTS! But to really reach into this achingly lovely and struggling nation, it's all about the students.