The journey to mother and child health

LiveBeyond-Maternal-Health.JPG

In Thomazeau, Haiti, 25-year-old Joseline walks for 10 hours in one day for her maternal health checkup. She begins preparations for the day long before the sun rises, so she can start her journey down the mountain at five o’clock in the morning.

Her walk up and down the mountainside is not for the faint of heart. She makes this trek on rough, unpaved roads in the unrelenting Haitian heat–and all the while seven months pregnant with a toddler at her side.

After five hours of walking, she arrives at the LiveBeyond medical clinic for her weekly checkup, a nutritious meal and a lecture about prenatal and postnatal care through our maternal health program.

“It is a lot of effort to go to the clinic, but LiveBeyond has taught me so many things that will help me raise a healthy child. I know my baby will be healthier because of the care and education that I have received during my pregnancy, too,” says Joseline.

When asked about what she has learned in the program, Joseline shares about a “cleansing potion” made up of hair oil, garlic and leaves that many Haitian mothers feed their newborn baby. It is widely believed that this mixture will cleanse the inside of a baby after delivery. Upon learning that this could be fatal to her baby from LiveBeyond’s maternal health nurses, Joseline decided she would no longer feed her baby this “medicine.”

“I also learned the importance of breastfeeding for at least six months. I thought it was better to feed my newborn baby solids, but now I know that if I regularly breastfeed, I no longer have to feed my newborn food like crushed up beans and rice,” she adds.

While the journey is long to attend the program, Joseline and her family will continue to reap the benefits of a solid education on maternal and child health.

“I am thankful to God for LiveBeyond and their program. They help me give me and my children a brighter future.”