As the saying goes, March has blown in strong like a lion! It is a month with many celebrations: go green for St. Patrick, go crazy for March Madness, celebrate Passover, and taxes are coming due. International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 9th and Women’s History Month throughout! In honor of this important event we spotlight the Matwons and Midwives for their work at St. Joseph Clinic in Haiti this month. But throughout it all, the work of Medical Missionaries continues on as strong as the wind is blowing. We are excited for you to see what we have been up to this month!
Spotlight on Matwons and Midwives
To celebrate Women’s History Month we proudly Spotlight the Midwives and Matwons who work at St. Joseph Clinic and outlying villages in Thomassique, Haiti. Midwives are licensed nurses who have trained to become midwives primarily through the “Midwives for Haiti” program. They, in turn, provide education sessions and training for the Matwons, who are Traditional Birth Attendants specializing in home births.
Since this program began in 2013, 45 Matwons have been trained to play a crucial role by facilitating safe pregnancies and births throughout their village communities. With 75% of births in the region taking place at home, extending maternal care to the rural areas helps women have safe pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. Together Midwives and Matwons provide prenatal care to women, are available for postnatal visits, and are always on call for deliveries.
Midwives participate in the weekly Mobile Clinics to provide care to women living in outlying villages and support the work of the Matwons. Matwons prepare and utilize the Clean Delivery Kits that are vital in home births occurring in the villages.
We salute Maternity Nurse Mis Lovely Appolon, Midwives: Mis Judith Charlotin, Mis Wilna Bastia, Mis Bellot Chena, and their many Matwon colleagues for their commitment to their clients and professional outlook in their work!
Supplies and Equipment on the Move!
Outgoing Supplies and Equipment
- Cameroon – Rev. Jean Pierre loaded up supplies to be transported to Cameroon.
- Jamaica – We provided summer clothing and medical equipment for Rev. Roman Carlton’s next container for Jamaica.
- Southwest Virginia – On March 15th our truck loaded with 4,000 pounds of food, blankets, hygiene products and winter coats drove to meet the folks from the Rocklick Pantry.
Incoming Supplies and Equipment
- We received several donations of adult and pediatric exam tables from Dr. Hart and other local physicians.
- ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others) delivered medical supplies and hygiene items.
- Sharon and Arlene from the Stafford Lions Club brought boxes of new clothing for children and adults, and blankets. Medical Missionaries in turn gave them boxes of new eye glasses and hearing aid supplies such as batteries for their clients. They are pictured here with Graham, one of our younger volunteers.
Community Outreach and Partnerships
NOVA/Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI)
On March 3rd, Dr. Irwin and volunteer Christine DiStasio did a virtual presentation to 50 participants. This program offers stimulating educational and cultural pursuits to students age 50 and over. Thank you to Nancy Osborne and David Martin for their assistance and for inviting Medical Missionaries to share their work with their students. The presentation was well received and we have received positive feedback from several participants. They also donated gift cards for our work.
Trail Life Troop 1914
On March 27th, under the leadership of Mike Judge, Trail Life Troop 1914, participated in a Day of Service at Sudley Club, Manassas. Medical Missionaries was one of two organizations chosen to be the recipients of their project.
The troops collected items of need such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap which they used to create 185 Hygiene Packs. They also collected food for our drive for the Rocklick Food Pantry.
Medical Missionary teammates were invited to attend the event and share information about their work. We were honored to be chosen for this event and are grateful for their support of our work.
Local Churches and Food Pantries
We are working to expand our network of food sharing between several local churches, pantries and Medical Missionaries. This network enables a partnership that benefits people facing food insecurity, locally and regionally.
One of our former Global Health Fellows, Logan Schulz, made the trip to Haiti on March 7th. He is the first visitor there since the pandemic hit last March when the Fellows had to be evacuated.
We are hopeful that we will be able to schedule future medical team trips by Fall 2021. Dr. Ken informed us that they are looking to fill an open slot for the Global Health Fellows program by Summer 2021 if possible.
St. Joseph Clinic
Incidence of Coronavirus reportedly remains low. Through our outreach, a volunteer who is a resident from George Washington University Hospital, Washington DC has offered to conduct training webinars for the Clinic staff. The first one will focus on Sonograms, a specialty of the presenter and of everyday use at the Clinic.
We continue to work on acquiring medications to send to St. Joseph Clinic. In addition, the office is packing boxes of supplies that will be shipped via container in the coming weeks. The Clinic continues its vital work in the community, both at the Clinic and in the surrounding villages.
April 17, 2021 – Spring Virtual Dinner
We will be hosting a Spring Virtual Dinner: An Evening of Entertainment. The “menu” will include interviews and musical guests from Haiti, Appalachia, local musicians and especially Dr. Irwin playing the ragtime piano!
Woven into the agenda we will hear from those that have been touched by our organization. Hear how medical care, food, clothing, toys and medical equipment are being given and used through the community and throughout the world.
The evening will have you dancing, singing, laughing and at times even crying. It will be just what you need to get through this stage of the pandemic!
Click here for details and tickets.
Thank you from The Ark of DC!
Hello Doctor Irwin,
Thanks for taking the time to drive with me to the warehouse and offer us a beautiful treatment table. It will surely go a long way in helping the needy consumers of Washington DC. Our Mental Health Clinic is dedicated to helping rehabilitate people in the community. We are also very appreciative of the great work you have been doing for the communities of Africa.
God Bless you!
The Ark of DC
Urgent Request – Van
We are still in need of a donation of a commercial van. The van will be used by our partners Bud and Alice to transport much needed clothing and supplies to the hamlet villages in their community in West Virginia. If anyone can help with this urgent request please call Dr. Irwin at 703-335-1800. You will be given a tax receipt for your records.