Community Health Initiative, Haiti
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Looking back on 2017 feels like that moment when you've reached the mountain's summit and you turn to see just how far you've come, suddenly finding yourself in awe.
It's the happy dance by our patient in triage when she found out that she managed her high blood pressure and her numbers are good! It's hearing veteran volunteers return to clinic for the first time in over a year and commenting on how much the communities have developed. And, perhaps most rewarding is hearing the community leaders report their communities are healthier because of the partnership we share!
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
It is hard to believe that just 5 short years ago, CHI was born into existence. It was certainly the actions of many hands and minds working together that brought us to this point. Slowly, steadily, we find ourselves transitioning from the operational mindset of providing relief to becoming more proficient in development.
One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, writes: "Rising Strong doesn't offer a solution or a recipe or step-by-step guidance. It presents a theory - grounded in data - that explains the basic social process men and women experience as they are working to rise after falling [yes, we have fallen!]. It is a map meant to orient you to the most significant patterns and themes that emerged from the research."
CHI is rooted in solid data and strong values. Our partners in rural Haiti possess both an intimate understanding and deep commitment to their communities. Together, working in solidarity, we find ourselves closer to the ultimate goal of empowering and creating self-directed communities in Haiti.
To define our mission tagline "...Until the work is done" is challenging. Our Haitian partners have the greatest potential to enact change and develop solutions within their villages. At the same time, so many of these initiatives require logistical, financial, and technical skills. Alongside our community partners, we cultivate the knowledge and potential of community members by coupling their insights with skills and knowledge. Step by step, we do this in the form of training and mentorship. This means during and beyond our clinics we are hiring more Haitian providers, dentists, and nurses, and assigning more leadership roles to Haitian staff. It means seeking opportunities and supporting our staff through education, equipping them with the tools and resources, and providing follow up and feedback. It means taking a backseat, as we learn to do business in an international environment. We learn to be flexible, humble, patient, and good listeners. We inspire and watch as our partners lead the way to changing their home communities! ...And we smile...wondering, could we truly be fulfilling our mission? It seems to me that we are closer than we ever thought we would be.
As we envision a solution to our mission, the next 5 years will be challenging, inspiring, exhausting, and rewarding. I can't think of any better partners I want to work alongside. Because when the time comes, it is with these people that I want to turn around with and look back at the strides we have made to reach our summit!
Thank you for coming along side us on this journey.
Annie Vander Werff
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In 2017, we were thrilled to celebrate five years as a formal organization continuously committed to one mission - to create healthy, empowered, and self-directed communities in Haiti until the work is done! We are proud of the progress we have made due to our long-standing partnerships and committed staff in Arcahaie.
When CHI started, we took a survey and listened to community members to learn what the area's most pressing health needs were. You may be surprised to find out, medical clinics were not the need they identified. Rather, they asked CHI to help build a road to improve transportation. Improved transportation meant that a larger truck could reach their small village to drill a well. Access to clean water would develop into a healthier community. Next up was building a streetlight so that children could do school work at night and community members could charge phones. It was not until these most pressing needs were met that the community leaders were ready to discuss hosting medical, and eventually surgical clinics, in Arcahaie.
A 2012 survey revealed that 98% of water sources contained fecal bacteria. These results encouraged us to introduce Gadyen Dlo water treatment systems. With a bucket and bottles of chlorinated solution, our four Quality Control Agents have been able to reduce the diarrhea rate from 40% to 1.8% in five communities. In 2017 alone, we distributed 100 buckets, which brought our total to 1,100 buckets in five years. This success is a testament to the dedication of our Quality Control Agents. Our Haiti Operations Director, Wisly Dange, shared how he has seen CHI's impact.
CHI is improving the life quality in Arcahaie...Back in the day, when people were thirsty, they would drink any kind of water, but now things have changed. Before somebody drinks a cup of water from someone else, he will ask whether the water is treated or not...because the Quality Control Workers have provided education to their communities, talking to people about the disease they could get from drinking untreated water from the canal and rivers. People even bathe with clean water and cook with clean water. We have less people sick from the untreated water.
While it is important to treat the water, we knew we could also address the fecal bacteria in the water source. By building latrines, the communities can bolster sanitation efforts. Because of the hard work of our Latrine Construction Specialist Gary Eloi and Latrine Mason Raoul Ulysse, 30 latrines were built in 2017! We nearly doubled the total latrine construction in one year, bringing the total number of latrines to 75 since 2012. Gary shared how he has seen the latrines improving the health of the community.
The people are so happy to receive every single program that CHI has done in Arcahaie, especially the latrines. Since we expanded our work, I have seen a big difference. The people, kids and adults, would just go in either the river, on the ground, or sometimes poop in a plastic bag and throw it away. I used to see them defacate all around. While I won't say it has stopped, I can see with the use of latrines, the area is starting to be cleaned up.
Gary and Raoul have also been able to share their skills with newly trained specialists in neighboring communities. These specialists now have the capacity to build latrines in their respective communities.
We are proud to have employed community members who build and sustain our programs. Their insight and work is imperative to identifying and addressing community needs. To date, we have employed 13 year-round Haitian staff, 3 Haitian doctors, and 2 dentists at our clinics. In 2017, we welcomed Fluery Ketma as a Community Health Worker. She has expanded our programs to a 5th community. We also welcomed Marie Miracle as a Gadyen Dlo Quality Control Sales Agent. Her territory is in Do Digue.
Not only are we employing individuals year-round, our Recycling Center is helping to employ individuals by turning trash to cash. When individuals collect plastic and aluminum, they are able to turn it into the Recycling Center for cash. This extra income can have a big impact for a family.
In Arcahaie, a father lost his job and was unable to find another job. He didn't have enough money to send his kids to school or feed them, so he started bringing plastic to the Recycling Center. Because of the Center, he earned enough income to feed his family and send his kids to school!
Since its opening in 2014, the Recycling Center has recycled 20,000 lbs of plastic and aluminum. Thus, the Center is helping families and reducing our plastic footprint on the environment.
Lastly, our Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program has been flourishing. This year, we collected affirming data showing our Community Health Workers are reducing infant mortality by 71%. Such success is a combination of our Community Health Workers dedication and diligence, committed volunteers such as Jodi Cattich supplying Clean Birthing Kits, and coordination with our clinical leadership.
As you can see, we have much to be proud of in our first five years. We want to thank all of our volunteers and supporters, whether you have been with us from the beginning or have joined the CHI family recently. There is more work to do, and we cannot do it without you! So, we hope you stick with us...until the work is done!
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Hard Work, Recognized
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Jovenel Moise: Haiti Elects a New President
On November 20, 2016, Haiti hit the polls to cast their vote for the next president. This vote came after Former President Martelly stepped down at the end of his term in 2015. Interim President Jocelerme Privert has led the country since February 2016. Moise won a reported 55.6% of the vote in an election with 27 candidates. After the election, there were allegations of fraud and subsequent protests in Port-au-Prince. In January 2017, Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) confirmed Moise's victory. Moise is a 48 year-old banana exporter from northern Haiti. As the 58th President of Haiti, Moise wrote he hopes his five-year term will be marked by "active will and vigilant pragmatism."
A Haiti Miracle: Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma broke records in September 2017 when the Category 5 storm made its way across the Atlantic. Just 11 months prior, Haiti was dealt a blow to the tune of 145 mph winds and heavy rains by Hurricane Matthew. But in 2017, Haiti was mostly spared. It was a true Haiti Miracle when Hurricane Irma just skirted the northern coast of the country. Our partners in Arcahaie experienced heavy rains from the storm but not the devastation Irma could have brought. Northern villages from Mole-Saint-Nicolas to Ounaminthe were damaged by floods while winds destroyed roofs and crops. Nevertheless, Haiti was left mostly spared, and for that, we are grateful.
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Our efforts in and around Arcahaie would not be possible without the work of our dedicated staff. They choose to commit their time to improving the health of their communities and make our programs possible. They are truly invaluable!
This year, we decided it was time to recognize and celebrate their hard work and dedication, so we created the Employee Recognition Program. At the end of each clinic week, we recognize one staff member, as voted upon by their fellow staff. They receive a certificate and monetary compensation ($20 USD). In 2017, we recognized:
Denis Monuma - Community Health Worker / Ajan Sante Kominote
Nola Fenelon - Community Health Worker Supervisor / Sipevize Ajan Sante Kominote
Agnes Pierre - Community Health Worker / Ajan Sante Kominote
Pierre Landa - Quality Control Worker / Ajan Kontwol Kalite
We would like to thank Roeder Companies for sponsoring in 2017. We look forward to carrying this program into 2018 and continuing to recognize our staff's hard work.
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jodi cattich & CLean Birthing Kits
I know you hear time and time again how a trip with CHI has changed someone's life. Well, you'll hear it again, because it changed mine too. I had been looking for an opportunity to reach out and extend myself from my first engagement in medical service work. I have been working in Iquitos, Peru as a community health team leader for several trips, and this sparked my desire to reach out and engage with other NGOs. My friend and mentor, Dr. Richard Anstett, introduced me to CHI and I found myself on the August 2017 Medical Team.
As a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse, I have had the blessing of being trained in the American Academy of Pediatrics' Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program, and this is why I want to refocus my energies on maternal/child health projects. The Clean Birthing Kits (CBKs) are obviously a way to improve an infant's start in life, and a rather simple one at that. I am astounded at the statistics listed with HBB research about improvements in neonatal mortality in several countries around the world. The provision of CBKs are, simply, an extension of the HBB objectives.
In Haiti, I was connected with people who share a desire to make an impact in community health, save lives, come together to solve problems, and minister to the needs of the communities there. I had the opportunity to meet Nola Fenelon, CHI Community Health Worker Supervisor. I so wish I had had more time with her (with a translator!) to review principles of HBB and safe transition to newborn life. I know I could have learned so much from her about the culture of birth in Haiti. Instead, I was able to give her approximately 65 CBKs for her to disseminate to expectant mothers. I immediately saw that 165 CBKs could have been used, and that I needed to do something about this. I have committed to provide, with the help of friends, 80-100 CBKs for each of the 5 medical teams in 2018.
In late August, we had a "back-to-school" event to gather supplies for CBKs on a friend's driveway. Since then, I have shared with many friends articles about CHI. As a result, a group of 20-25 youth, seeking a service project in my church, came together to assemble about 100 kits. Then, in December, another 100 kits were assembled. About 150 more kits will be assembled for the 2018 March and June Medical Teams. I may have organized these events, but many people donated blankets and supplies. It thrills me to see the enthusiasm of these donors and volunteers. It is kind of addictive and energizing when someone asks when the next "assembly party" will be! Every kit assembled is potentially a life saved with just nine simple items!
I chose to donate my time and money because I know how simple it can be to impact change, show love for people in another part of the world, and gather a group of enthusiastic volunteers who are eager to make a difference. The CBK assembly parties are a way for people of all ages to gather and recognize that many hands and hearts can benefit others. I see this as an extension of the healing ministry of Christ, but it is also engaging in work to bring others hope and letting them know (mothers, specifically) they are loved. The teenagers I work with are learning through school and similar volunteer opportunities that they have a role, and even an obligation, to share time, talent, and energies to actively help others and engage in the global community. These CBK assembly parties may be a small way to foster community development and empower moms to improve their own and their babies' health outcomes, but if I have learned anything from these assembly parties it is that no effort is too small.
As a NICU nurse, I am excited about the research showing the impact of the HBB program. The CBKs are a companion to that work. My goal is to help CHI Community Health Workers reduce infant mortality, reduce incidence of infection, and practice "golden minute of life" skills. I hope to teach these skills to community health workers around the globe. It is a thrill to combine education, a desire to impact, and energy in order to share your enthusiasm for global health work with people around you.
Jodi Cattich is originally from Calgary, Canada and now resides in Littleton, CO. She is a mother to two amazing young adults and a wife to Paul, who supports her immensely in her quests to use nursing skills beyond the hospital.
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HELPING BABIES BREATHE
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We have long known that our Community Health Workers (CHWs) do invaluable work for their communities, but we now have the data to prove it! About half of the CHWs' time is spent on Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), a neonatal resuscitation curriculum adapted from an American Academy of Pediatrics program. Our CHWs provide trainings and supplies to moms and then follow-up with mom and baby after the birth.
In 2017, we collected some affirming data to show how our CHWs are truly helping babies breathe. After following 214 births, including 7 sets of twins, we found a 71% reduction in infant mortality when a trained person and clean birthing kit were present for the delivery. During follow-ups, mothers were 15% more likely to report their babies as healthy. Overall, 88% of moms reported HBB was helpful during their delivery.
The success of our HBB program would not exist without the persistence and perseverance of our CHWs.
When put to task, CHI's CHWs go the distance. Denis Monuma is a CHI CHW in and around Fondol, the most mountainous area we serve. Homes and people are often spread apart. With a passion for helping babies not only breathe but thrive, Denis reached a group of expectant mothers more than a one hour hike north of Fondol. He quickly learned that there were almost a dozen home-trained midwives wanting to learn the Helping Babies Breathe curriculum so they too could help more mothers have safe home births. CHI was able to help him get supplies and training for these midwives. Denis continues to go the extra mile!
We are not the only ones excited about HBB. Dr. Barry Anderton is a pediatric anesthesiologist who has been teaching pediatric bag mask ventilation throughout the world for the past 38 years. He had the opportunity to visit our CHWs working in the field in March 2017. Dr. Anderton reported he and his team "were delighted to observe one of the trainings. There were about 20 locals in attendance. I think [the Community Health Workers] are a great concept...I loved their teamwork and enthusiasm." Dr. Anderton was able to provide several training materials for the HBB program, including student manuals, flipcharts, wall charts, and penguin suctions! We thank Dr. Anderton and his team for their generosity.
With the collected data, we can convince others of our CHWs' impact. We are excited for Dr. Jordan Reed, Dr. Chris Buresh, and Dr. Karisa Harland to present this research as a poster at the 2018 Unite for Sight Conference. Our HBB program is fairly innovative in that it can be effective in rural settings, with varying levels of literacy, and no elaborate resuscitation equipment. Moreover, the program is cost-effective. At only $6 USD per HBB patient, it costs a mere $200 USD to save a baby. Most importantly, our CHWs empower moms to direct their own care and improve the health outcomes for both moms and babies!
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Our community health workers are
7,375 Medical Clinic Patients
28,439 Medications Dispensed
Nearly 35,000 patients and 200 surgeries to date
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CO Girlz Night Out - Nov. 4
CHI 360 in Cedar Rapids, IA - Sept. 23
Jodi Cattich's Clean Birthing Kit Parties
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2nd Annual Call-a-Thon - Nov. 28
CHI is proud to have donors that recognize the importance of educating today's students and tomorrow's leaders. Due to the generosity of these donors, we were able to offer six scholarships in 2017. These scholarships recipients agree that they learned much more from these trips than just medicine.
Being in Haiti for the short amount of time that I was, changed my perspective on life for the better. I am a better person for volunteering in Haiti not because I gained knowledge about medicine but because I gained compassion and understanding for people.
-Tiffany Schick, June 2017
Many of these students have an interest in global health and community development but have financial obligations for tuition and school expenses that hinders their ability to join medical teams. Take Camille Rasmussen, for example, who graduated from the University of Iowa Physician Assistant program in December 2017. She has dedicated her life to medicine as a burgeoning physician's assistant.
[I] knew that financially I would not be able to afford a mission trip for many years due to student debt. Thankfully, due to [the CHI Medical Student Scholarship], I was able to fulfill my dreams last month.
-Camille Rasmussen, January 2018
CHI is excited to continue offering scholarships in 2018 to medical, health sciences, and public health students, as well as practitioners. We thank our generous donors for fulfilling the dreams of these future health leaders.
For more information about available scholarships, visit chihaiti.org/volunteer/scholarships.
CHI RoundUps: Iowa and Minnesota
CHI supporters and volunteers gathered in both states to meet new and old friends and talk about Haiti!
A Drop in the Bucket
Volunteers helped us raise funds to support our clean water projects!
Give Your Love A Loo - Mary's Loo
Targeting Poverty Nerf Gun Tournament
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19 Members Joined in 2017
From 5 States (IA, CO, WI, PA, NE)
Over $14,000 in Membership Contributions
Over 80 trips to Haiti
9 Member Names on CHI Tap Tap
Want to join? The Alumni Club helps volunteers 'stay involved' long after their trip is over. Various annual giving levels are available to match your desired level of commitment.
Student: $25 La Ballade: $50-249 Fondol: $250-499 Prestige: $500-999 Magistrate: $1000+
Oshkosh Area Community Foundation
One Mission Fundraising
Allina Health System
Allina Health Community Engagement
Christ the Servant Lutheran Church
First Presbyterian Church of Cedar Rapids
St. Thomas More Church of Coralville
Youth with a Mission
Emergency Physicians of the Rockies
The University Club of Iowa City
ConAgra Foods Foundation
Trinity Lutheran Church of Marshalltown
Chapter IH or PEO
First Baptist Church of Amery
Hallberg Family Foundation
Oskaloosa Rotary Club
Trail Ridge Consulting
International Mission Foundation
First United Methodist Church of Jesup
Community Shares of Minnesota
Atlantic Bottling Coca Cola
Diamond V Mills, Inc.
AW Welt Ambrisco
Associated Eye Care
Abacus Financial LLC
Barn Builders Inc
Ames Town & Country Kiwanis Foundation
Wilson Business Services
The Print Shop
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William & Ruth Behrens
Cole & Kile Bucknell
Chris & Ginny Buresh
Katie & Ryan Buresh
Jon & Joann Buss
Steven & Renay Cabbage
Hugh & Fay Cafferty
Roderick & Betsy Caszatt
Greg & Brenda Conklin
Tamra Dalle Molle
William Davis & Kathy
Steven & Marcia Dewald
Craig & Krista Dopf
Dave & Susan Elbing
David & Heidi Erspamer
Jack & Nancy Evans
Maryanne & Jeff Fantalis
Randle & Barbara
Al & Ellen Fisher
Melissa & Trevor Foster
Dave & Kathi Gammon
Gary & Vicki Ganje
Thomas & Melanie
Jayne & Michael
Michael & Shana
Wayne & Linda Hanson
Nathan & Alison Harmon
Robert & Melynda
William & Susan Hegg
Benjamin & Erin Hoover
David & Carolyn Horton
Roger & Janet Jacobsen
Andy & Janet Jacobsen
Robert & Patricia Johnson
Hans & Ivan Johnson
Helene Jolas Soper
Bill & Joan Kettelkamp
Saheer & Hanna Khoury
Mike & Teri Kohlrusch
Tom & Nancy Lackner
Dale & Rebecca Lawrence
Richard & Barbara
Frank & Kathleen
Raymond & Pamela
Dan & Claudia McGehee
Aaron & Kathy McKay
Michael & Jane Melloy
Anthony & Linda Milici
David & Sally Monahan
Joleen Mossoni Polk
David & Rosemary Myers
William & Sarah Neff
Jon & Elizabeth Noah
Jo Beth Northrop
Yvan & Marilyn Paitel
Naser & Cathie Payvandi
Mike & Stacey Pellett
John & Sherry Purdie
Bill & Natalie Raaths
David & Pamela Rahn
Deborah Read Fowler
Cathy & Travis Rein
Larry & Julie
Marty & Wanda Rimestad
Paul & Lisa Rinde
Charles & Cheryl Ryan
Nick & Ali Schissel
Brian & Ellen Schultz
Tim & Amber Sheeley
Andrew Sherburne &
Dean Preston Smith
Christopher & Kristin
R.K. & Janet Spencer
Judith & Jacob Stark
Sara Stramel Brewer
Dana & Carly Van Der
Alain Van Der Heide
Jill Van Wyke
Dave & Cheryl Vander
Brad & Annie Vander Werff
Thomas & Andrea
Karl & Mary Volz
Jim & Chris Walters
Donald & Margaret Weaver
Jennifer & Brian Weiford
W Richard & Ann White
Kristen & Kyle Wilcox
Jana Zimmerman & Pete
Leroy & Ruth Zimmerman
Joel & Amy Zylstra
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WE GO FURTHER
Community Health Initiative, Haiti | POBox 5908, Coralville, IA 52241 | chihaiti.org |