For nearly twenty five years, Village Partners International has been working to improve the lives of villagers in a rural mountain village in Haiti. The goal has always been to create programs that are sustainable and directed by Haitian professionals and community leaders. With support from VPI, Mombin Hospital has become a hub for providing patient care, meals, medications and access to clean water for those living in and around the village. Programs like the mobile clinic and an effort to build cisterns in more remote areas have been successful in reaching populations that were not formerly served.
Even with productive programs in place, the desperate need of people living in the most remote and underserved areas has been a crushing reality. Many children remain severely malnourished and their families receive no support or hope for relief from their circumstances. VPI has been committed to establishing a nutrition program that could reach the communities identified as having the greatest need and the highest numbers of deaths due to malnutrition. These areas are so remote that the only way to reach them is by motorcycle and there are no clinics or health workers there to provide care. VPI volunteer, Jennifer Reynolds, MPH-CHES, was instrumental in helping to create a new program that is directed by a Haitian nurse, utilizes an auxiliary nurse and not only treats and monitors children, but will result in lasting improvements for their health. In the first few months since the program was launched, hundreds of children have been evaluated and those identified with severe or acute malnutrition were treated or hospitalized. We believe that creating a program that is sustainable with the goal of eliminating malnutrition deaths is the most important aspect of improving the prospects for a healthy future for these children. It is a complicated process and a complex problem that must be addressed with real solutions for long-term success. It must also employ the skills of trained Haitian professionals who are living there and understand the nuances of rural village life. In October, Jennifer and a small team from VPI will travel to Haiti to evaluate the program and to assess its impact on the communities it will serve.
– Terry Leigh Deal