Investing in mothers, improving future generations

I was five months pregnant when I left Cross Catholic Outreach’s branch office in Port-au-Prince, hopped on a small, prop plane and flew to a gravel airstrip in Jérémie, a coastal town in southern Haiti. I’d gone there to visit our long-time partners the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF), a ministry providing comprehensive medical care to thousands of people throughout this region.

Once the plane landed, I jumped in a truck and began the three-hour trek to a Cross Catholic-supported health clinic in the rural, mountain village of Guitionniere. When I arrived, the clinic’s work day was already well underway, and hundreds of people were congregating there for vital medical care. A nearby canvas tent immediately caught my eye.  In that simple structure, pregnant women were receiving pre-natal care – something their mothers and grandmothers had never enjoyed.

In Haiti, investing in the health care of women means improving the lives of the next generation. In Haiti, investing in the health care of women means improving the lives of the next generation.

Just the week prior, I had been in South Florida for my own routine pre-natal check-up. Though the environments couldn’t have been more different, it was edifying to see that the poor Haitian women were receiving a level of information and care very similar to my own.

In this rural, mountaintop village without water or electricity, I listened as nurses taught the pregnant women the importance of proper hygiene, balanced nutrition and taking their supplied vitamins. The patients were also screened for life-threatening conditions, trained in breastfeeding and counseled in how to care for their babies and families post-delivery.

Though I appreciated the help I’d gained in the United States, at that moment I was very thankful to be in this remote Haitian village, learning new and valuable information that has since helped me during my own pregnancy. Even more than that, I was grateful to be a part of a project that is providing life-saving care through the investment and education of mothers. Clearly, offering comprehensive pre-natal care to the rural poor empowers more than the mothers.  It also dramatically improves the lives of the next generation.

-Annie O.