On Thursday, December 16th, 2021, Zanmi Lasante organized a graduation ceremony for the latest cohort of mothers that participated in the J9 program between 2019 and 2021. This program is an innovative model of comprehensive group care designed to follow pregnant women from early pregnancy through delivery and through the first 12 months of their babies' lives.
Six hundred (600) babies who have been part of the program for over a year, from different cities in the country. The mothers gathered at the Mirebalais University Hospital (HUM) to mark this memorable event.
Nothing was left to chance to make the ceremony a success. It was hosted by Wilby Descartes, social worker at HUM, who knew how to choose the right words, responding to the atmosphere that reigned that morning, with a sharp sense of humor.
Nurse Thamar Julmiste, coordinator of the J9 program, also spoke at the opening of the ceremony, thanking the accompanying nurses, the mothers who entrusted their children, and particularly Marc Julmisse Zanmi Lasante's executive director who's idea it was to initiate this program.
Each year, the J9 program team organizes a graduation to allow the first cohort of women and children to leave in style and to welcome in other pregnant women and their newborns into the program. After 4 years (2018-2021), 219 cohorts of women and 179 cohorts of children have graduated. In September 2021, the J9 program was extended to Sainte-Thérèse de Hinche Hospital (HSTH). More than one hundred pregnant HSTH women are already part of it.
"Once graduated, the beneficiaries of the program can only reintegrate it two years after", informs Thamar Julmiste. “This allows other pregnant women to have the chance to give birth in a health center and in better conditions."
Some mothers took the opportunity to share their testimony with the audience. Carline, who gave birth to a baby girl with a knee malformation, was happy to show her baby to the audience who was walking normally after receiving medical care from the medical staff at HUM and J9.
Continuing the ceremony, Descartes and Julmiste, took turns calling the recipients for the delivery of certificates and hygiene kits for children, one of the most anticipated moments. Each went up to the stage to collect their certificate.
The applause rang out and the flashes of photographer Amos Sampeur crackled as he took portraits of each mother and child, certificate in hand and a big smile.
“We have become very close, and it is very joyful today. Everyone is very happy to share this moment with their children, their friends and their family,” says Guerline Joseph, all smiles, with her baby in her arms.