Labor of Love in Honduras: Maternity Center Provides Quality Medical Care to New Mothers
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Aug. 17, 2017) Young mothers in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, have access to a modern maternity ward and healthcare for their new babies, thanks to generous Food For The Poor donors.
The new Holy Innocents Maternity Center recently was dedicated across the street from the Mario Catarino Rivas Hospital, one of two major hospitals in the country.
For more than 26 years, the hospital has been the only alternative in the area for sick children and women in need of prenatal care who could not afford to go to a private hospital. Before the new maternity center was built, there was no dedicated space in the hospital to help medical staff provide quality prenatal care for patients. The emergency room, which doubled as the maternity ward, often was overcrowded. A lack of air conditioning put patients at risk of exposure to bacteria and infection.
Longtime Food For The Poor donors Patrick and Louise Rainey, of Orlando, visited the hospital for the first time in July 2016 and were shocked by the dilapidated conditions. They decided to do something about it.
"The delivery room was probably 10 feet by 20 feet and there were four beds in the room with two women giving birth at the same time. There was no privacy," said Patrick Rainey, who owns a successful property management company. "It was horrendous."
While there are other private hospitals in the area, they are out of reach for ordinary Hondurans who can barely afford to buy food, let alone pay for medical care. Their only option is the free care provided by Mario Catarino Rivas Hospital.
The Raineys spoke with a doctor at the hospital who explained patients were being turned away because there was no room to treat them. The doctor said the hospital easily could increase the number of people treated, improve the quality of care and save more lives if they had better facilities and equipment.
Last month, the Raineys returned to the hospital and dedicated the new state-of-the-art, air-conditioned maternity wing with separate exam, operating and delivery rooms.
Born out of a labor of love, the new Holy Innocents Maternity Center provides poor families improved access to obstetrics and gynecological care, as well as internal medicine. It also includes an outpatient wing where new mothers learn how to care for their premature babies.
CEPUDO, Food For The Poor's partner in Honduras, oversaw the implementation of the project.
"They're not turning people away now," Rainey said. "You can't imagine the gratitude we saw on their faces. They were overwhelmed with joy. Lives are being saved."
Previously, the Raineys helped Food For The Poor establish a "Soy Cow" project in Honduras that produces soy milk, a high-protein food source in a population where malnutrition is a common threat.
Rainey said everyone, especially mothers and their newborn babies, deserves the simple dignity of medical attention.
"When someone's life starts out in a dark, dirty overcrowded room, it makes a statement to the mothers. It also says something to the child who has just been born, even though they may not be aware of it," Rainey said. "In the new Holy Innocents Maternity Center, mothers feel from the beginning that they are valued by society, and that their child is important and deserves a level of respect."
Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma said when poor mothers come to the Holy Innocents Maternity Center, they now have full assurance that they will receive superior quality medical treatment in a modern hospital.
"In my tradition, when we express the birth of a child, we use the words ‘dar a luz,' which means that the infant is ‘given to the light' by its mother. In this case, donors Patrick and Louise Rainey are allowing babies to be truly given to the light," Aloma said. "Food For The Poor is honored to have this opportunity to help the families in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, have continued access to adequate health services by building the new Holy Innocents Maternity Center."
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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