Newborn and Child Health Education Through Haitian Art

Inside the child malnutrition unit at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, the largest regional hospital in Haiti’s Artibonite region, colorful murals have been painted over the beds. They were specifically designed to teach parents, especially mothers, how to keep their newborns and children healthy and well-fed.

In Haiti one in five children suffers from chronic malnutrition and 6.5 percent of Haitian children suffer from acute malnutrition. Chronic malnutrition is described as stunting or shortness. Acute malnutrition is wasting or thinness.

This mural in Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti shows mothers the importance of breastfeeding their newborns as well as the importance of taking their babies to the Centre de Santé (health center).

Health messaging art

Haiti has a 53 percent literacy rate making it imperative that health messaging at the hospital is conveyed through art as well as through color-coded words. For example, the hospital’s social services are all written in red so those who cannot read can easily find that department. Additionally, for those who can read all signs are written in French as well as in Creole as language politics in the region are quite heightened.

Mothers instead of fathers are more likely to tend to their children in the malnutrition unit like the mothers I saw when I visited. Some mothers were feeding their children and others were sitting with their children who were too weak to be awake.

Haitian women have a lower literacy rate than men in Haiti making messaging through art critical to driving home nutrition education in this unit.

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Photo Essay: Vaccines in Deschappelles, Haiti

Yesterday I was in Deschappelles, Haiti about three hours north of Port-au-Prince. Deschappelles is where the largest regional hospital, Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, is and has been for nearly 60 years. It serves a population of 350,000 and routinely takes in patients from outside of the region.

In addition to hospital services Hôpital Albert Schweitzer also arranges and manages 280 mobile health posts conducted by health agents every month throughout the mountainous region. I attended one of those health posts on Monday during World Immunization Week to see babies and expectant women receive their vaccinations.

Below are photos from the day. Babies received oral polio and the pentavalent vaccine. The pentavalent vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) which causes pneumonia and meningitis, was first introduced in Haiti in 2013. Expectant mothers received the tetanus vaccine.

About 25 mothers showed up yesterday for their monthly health post visit as well as four expectant mothers who accompanied their children.

Health Clinic - Deschappelles


Health Clinic - Deschappelles

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