Caring for Children
Children represent the future, and HAS is committed to helping brighten Haiti’s future by helping children here survive and remain healthy enough to become educated, productive citizens. We and others working on this challenge have much to do. Haiti has the highest rates of infant and under-five mortality in the Western Hemisphere.
Over half of the available inpatient beds at HAS are reserved for children – for pediatric surgery, general pediatrics, nutritional rehabilitation, pediatric isolation, and neonatal intensive care. Additionally, the general pediatrics clinic and the pediatric surgery clinic combined make pediatrics the second busiest hospital outpatient clinic division, behind internal medicine. In 2013, children represented 33% of all admissions, but nearly 50% of total patient days, indicating that their cases are often complex and require them to stay in the hospital for a considerable length of time. The children who are admitted to the hospital for care often suffer from serious, even life-threatening health conditions, including severe, acute malnutrition, infectious illnesses such as diarrheal diseases and upper respiratory infections, and injuries or conditions that require surgery and rehabilitation.
In 2013, HAS saw considerable increases in pediatric surgery and neonatal intensive care admissions, in particular. Pediatric surgery, for instance, saw a 27% jump from 2012. The neonatal intensive care unit, which cares for vulnerable premature and ill newborns, saw a 12% increase.
HAS is committed to the belief that children cannot be healthy if their mothers are not healthy. HAS therefore views pediatric healthcare and maternal healthcare as closely, indeed inextricably related. From Cesarean sections for high-risk deliveries in the hospital, to community-based education about various topics including breastfeeding, nutrition, and prenatal warning signs, HAS strives to meet the healthcare needs of mothers and their children.
Further, HAS must adapt to the changing public health situation in Haiti by offering a wide variety of health services that responds to a changing and growing patient populations. Not only does HAS provide extensive education for patients about reproductive and prenatal health, we also encourage and ensure new mothers will have skilled antenatal care in the critical first month of an infant’s life. Furthermore, we work with mothers and children intensively until a child turns five in order to promote optimal health for the entire family.