In Haiti, a major problem among children is "undernourishment" due to insufficient calorie intake. The Neonatal Care Unit of St. Damien hospital fights against malnutrition, and is equipped with 24 beds and a staff consisting of 8 auxiliary nurses, 4 nurses, and 2 doctors, all of whom ensure the proper care of malnourished children.
The malnutrition program treats children up to five years old, in an effort to help combat Haiti’s alarmingly high rate of infant mortality due to preventable causes. The ward has an average hospital stay of three weeks. More severe cases can have longer stays, sometimes up to two or three months. Often times the ward patients have multiple aliments: their malnutrition is accompanied by other symptoms like a respiratory infection, urinary tract infection, skin infection, diarrhea, and tuberculosis.
In these cases, we take a two-step approach where we treat the infection and implement a nutritional recovery plan for the malnutrition. The program runs for about 6 weeks, and provides patients with food packages. After they are discharged from St. Damien’s, the follow up lies in weekly consultations to monitor progress through our external malnutrition clinic.
Our malnutrition room space has increased from 20 to 24 beds, with full-time staff. There were 431 admission cases and 679 consultations recorded for this department during 2017.
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Note: the project cost includes a 10% premium to support the general needs of NPH and its children.
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