American-born Doctor Helps Reduce Infant Mortality Rate by 66 Percent in Haiti

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Humanitarian organization, LiveBeyond, helps poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, just 650 miles from U.S.

The best thing for a child is to have a living parent and the best thing for a mother is to have a healthy child.

LiveBeyond, a humanitarian organization based in Thomazeau, Haiti, is celebrating the success of its Haitian-run maternal health program, and placing an emphasis on expanding its care for mothers and children in this struggling nation throughout this year.

After starting the maternal health program in 2012 in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Heath and Texas A&M University, LiveBeyond, under the leadership of founder and CEO, Dr. David Vanderpool, has reduced the perinatal (pre- and post-birth) mortality rate in Thomazeau by 66 percent, compared to the national average.

Vanderpool, a trauma surgeon by trade, and his wife, Laurie, founded LiveBeyond, formerly known as Mobile Medical Disaster Relief (MMDR), in 2005 to provide sustainable solutions in medical and maternal health care, clean water, education, and agricultural and economic development. In 2013, the couple sold their home, successful medical practice in Brentwood, Tennessee, and a majority of their belongings and moved to Thomazeau, Haiti, indefinitely to provide long-term sustainable care to the Haitian people. Today, LiveBeyond has more than 220 women in its maternal health program.

"After the catastrophic Haiti earthquake in 2010, we knew we were called to help the Haitian people and provide a lasting impact in the country," said Dr. Vanderpool. "Maternal health was one of the first areas we began working because the best thing for a child is to have a living parent and the best thing for a mother is to have a healthy child. A successful mother and child relationship has many positive long-term economic and social implications."

Located less than 650 miles southeast of the United States, Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and has one of the lowest maternal and infant mortality rate, ranking within the bottom 25 nations.

In Haiti, women do not have access to the kinds of prenatal and postnatal care, adequate nutrition, and family planning that they need. The average woman in Thomazeau has six to seven children, making it difficult to feed herself and her children, and she often experiences the same number of miscarriages in her lifetime. Since more than 98 percent of mothers in Haiti deliver their babies at home and 42 percent do so without medical assistance, many mothers and their children face high-risk delivery and often give birth on dirt floors, cutting umbilical cords with rocks.

LiveBeyond's maternal health program offers solutions by providing initial and weekly pregnancy monitoring, weekly provisions of prenatal vitamins, daily meals, maternal health education, obstetrical delivery kit, in-home check-up after delivery, newborn medical care for one year, and vocational training so mothers can provide for their children. Under Dr. Vanderpool's supervision, the program is indigenously operated, providing jobs for Haitians and stimulating the economy of the Thomazeau region.

"These medical solutions to the problem of maternal and infant mortality are not complicated or expensive medical procedures; however they are necessary," said Dr. Vanderpool. "Nearly all of these maternal and infant deaths can be prevented, and most women are desperate for an intervention. Losing a mother in an impoverished country is particularly difficult because often she foists six children on a community already living on the knife-edge of survival."

LiveBeyond is a faith-based, humanitarian organization improving lives of the poor in Thomazaeu, Haiti, with sustainable solutions in medical and maternal health care, clean water, education, and agricultural and economic development. For more information, visit http://www.livebeyond.org.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information about LiveBeyond or to arrange an interview with Dr. David Vanderpool, contact Zane Harrington at 972.267.1111 or via email at Zane(at)alarryross(dot)com.

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J'Lyn Emerson
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