Dominique-Photographer

It’s a Sad Day When a Baby Dies

In Photography on February 18, 2011 at 12:43 am

…It’s even sadder when a baby dies of cholera in Haiti.

Today we learned that a little girl of 13 months living in an orphanage with 30 other children, 13 of which are babies under the age of 1, was hospitalized on Tuesday and passed away this morning.  Cholera broke out in October 2010 and reached epidemic proportions in December of 2010. As of January 2011 nearly 4000 people have died of cholera in Haiti. Although the epidemic appears to have faded it is not clear whether it has merely taken a break or whether it will resurge with the coming rainy season.

The orphanage is over crowded, understaffed and operates on a shoe string.  There is no running water and no toilets.  Babies are washed in the same tubs of water, share cribs and often feeding utensils.  No less than a month ago the children were fed when there was money to buy food; some were fed once a day, if lucky.  Thanks to a generous donor, the children now eat three times a day. Severely malnourished babies have been provided a supplementary food called plumply food free of charge by UNICEF.

During my first visit to the orphanage, the babies were laying in their cribs in a dark dank room, daylight only reaching them through a partially opened doorway.  No air flows through. If it rains hard enough, the rain water runs into the house through the staircase which leads to nowhere; the second floor was never completed, a common occurrence in Haiti.  The toddlers ran around barefoot outside in a garden where no grass grows. The older children watched over and took care of the younger ones.

I  went to the cribs where the babies spend their days and picked one up to take her outside into the daylight.  The baby was limp and there was no tension in her muscles when I applied pressure against her foot or her hand.  Her head was limp and she could not hold her neck up straight.  Her eyes looked as though they were rolling. I had never seen a malnourished child.  Her name is Tama and she is six months old.

  1. Dominique … Your words paint such a clear picture of what the Haiti experience. I’m sad that the little girl didn’t make it … everyone is working so hard to make things better. I wonder if, like me, you are wondering “What do I do next?” now that we’re home. There doesn’t seem a way to just go back to my normal life.

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  2. THANKS FOR PUBLISHING THAT ARTICLE AND YES IT IS A VERY SAD DAY WHEN A BABY DIES. THERE IS SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE CAN DO TO PREVENT THIS AND IT WAS A NEEDLESS TRAGEDY. MY PRAYERS GO FOR MY BELOVED PEOPLE AND HAITIAN CITIZENS..

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