Artéfise Prospère, head nurse at the Bahon Health Center in Haiti, discovered her calling to this field early on. Since 2016, she has been supported by our Appui au Continuum de Santé mère-enfant (ACOSME) project in her practice.
Born into a family of five children, Ms. Artéfise Prospère is the daughter of a nursing assistant. Her mother's professional career was a source of motivation for her to join the health services field. "I was aware and impressed: I wanted to follow her path and go even higher. I don't regret this choice at all, because being a nurse is about helping people," she says. The outbreak of cholera in 2010 in Haiti was paradoxically a second revelation: "We had 100 declared cases and yet we had no deaths despite our small means: small center, no electricity. It was an achievement and it motivated me to continue in this way. Appointed head nurse, she quickly took on a supervisory role, managing activities and teams: "I like to strengthen the sense of collaboration. Finally, a particular event, the birth of her first child, reinforced her choice :
When I was pregnant, it was not easy because I had a placenta previa problem. When I saw how my fellow nurses had helped me, it only strengthened my motivation to help other pregnant women as well - Mrs. Prospere
Being sick or pregnant in a place far from health services is not an easy thing to do. Located about forty kilometers from the city of Cap-Haitien, the commune of Bahon, with a population of 21,253, in the department of the North of Haiti, is in the district of Grande-Rivière-du-Nord. From Cap-Haitien, it represents almost two hours of travel by car on a tortuous road. The Bahon health center, which specializes in emergency obstetrical and neonatal care, has benefited from the ACOSME project's investments in order to open up the area and provide local health services.
The ACOSME project has brought many improvements to the people of Bahon. Before, we did not operate 24 hours a day or 7 days a week, now we do. We have a laboratory, a minor surgery room, an enlarged pharmacy and delivery rooms with all the necessary equipment. We are really happy to be able to offer a better service to the population - Mrs. Prospère
Artéfise Prospère is proud of its vaccination activities. The Center has just finalized a campaign against COVID-19. Vaccination of children is one of the main activities. Annually, the objective is to vaccinate 703 children under the age of one and 718 pregnant women. In addition to vaccination, the Center offers family planning services (free distribution of condoms, access to a long-term implant method, quarterly injections, free distribution of contraceptive pills) and the goal is to target nearly 4,000 people.
We take advantage of the vaccination to do a systematic screening for malnutrition. As soon as a child seems to be in need, we make an appointment and follow up weekly. Malnutrition has not only physical impacts, but also on the children's ability to learn at school - Mrs. Prospère
The project is coming to an end and several indicators show a decrease in maternal and infant mortality in the region. "We hope that women's health in Haiti will improve in the same way that the ACOSME project has improved. It has been a model of success for us."
*The Support to the Mother-Child Health Continuum (ACOSME) project is a consortium between the International Health Unit (USI) of the Université de Montréal and CECI and is funded by Global Affairs Canada. The goal of the project is to contribute to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality in Haiti's North Department by addressing the needs and rights of mothers, pregnant women, newborns and children under 5 years of age.