This is a blog for anyone interested in telling others of their time in Haiti. It's meant more for us to share stories, and please make any comments you'd like in the box below the posts (no need to sign in). Contact Julian if you would like to post on the blog--we welcome anyone doing health-related work in northern Haiti.

While we welcome discussion on this blog, issues meant for feedback from the Network should be posted on the discussion board by emailing

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cholera Information Campaign

We distributed some flyers to the clinics of For Haiti with Love, the Lutheran Clinic in Madelin, and Haiti Hospital Appeal. The information provides step by step instructions on proper hand-washing. It also shows people how to create their own rehydration drink using water, sugar, and salt. The clinics were happy to receive the copies and will distribute to patients to help them learn how to prevent the spread of Cholera.

We also distributed some important supplies to For Haiti with Love. They received gauze, anti-biotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, and a few containers of Silver Sulfadiazide cream we had received from Grassroots United in Port-Au-Prince. The cream is critical for the clinic in the treatment of there many burn victims.

Open Door Haiti Medical Shipment

Yesterday the Network Support Team helped receive a shipment of medical supplies at the Cap Haitien airport. The supplies are bound for the Open Door clinic in Bois De Lance. The supply shipment came about through great coordination amongst a number of different groups. ALFA AERO and Bahamas Habitat worked together to arrange for the plane and pilot - a Texas man who donated his time and aircraft for the purpose. They took out all the seats to fit the 60+ boxes that were shipped down.

Upon arrival at the Cap Haitien airport we met the supplies and with some creative negotiating were able to clear them through customs. It is worth noting that custom's officials at the airport are paying particularly close attention to the expiration date on all supplies coming into the country. They went through nearly every box checking expiration dates, even on toothpaste and soap. Keep this in mind when arranging any donations for shipping!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Visit with Help Bring Hope for Haiti

On Friday I met with Patricia Eddy who is the chairman of the board and founder of HBHH. They drill water wells for clean water in St-Suzanne. Agriculture is a huge effort that create jobs and food for the people and the community of St-Suzanne. HBHH provides medical assistance they through two clinics, one in St-Suzanne and one in Cottlete where HBHH has a doctor that comes in every Wednesdays to check up the people of the community. St-Suzanne's clinic runs 5 days a week Mondays-Fridays with a doctor that stays on site. HBHH has a student sponsorship where they sponsor a children in danger of losing their place in school because their parents can't afford school.They have 3 schools, the first one is in Cottlete, 2nd one is in St-Suzanne and the 3rd one is in Trou-du-Nord. HBHH have scholarships funds for the children that are done with high school. They teach them how to become teachers and medical doctors to help and bring their education back to the people in their village. They also have vocational training is for the women of St.Suzanne training them how to sew,cook and learn basic hygiene. HBHH goal is to produce high quality merchandise that can be sold both locally and also within the U.S. Patricia's goal is to help Haiti in becoming a better country. I enjoyed my time with Patricia and look forward to continuing to help her on her trips to Haiti.

Network Team Returns to Cap

Ralph and I returned this week to Cap Haitien after spending the week at the NHAHA conference in Port-Au-Prince. In addition to our activities at the conference, we spent part of Friday afternoon visiting one of SOIL's composting toilet sites in Cite Soleil. Friday is the weekly dumping where they place nearly 600 gallons of dry feces into a composting site that will later be used to start a community garden. The Friday dump has turned into a community activity as many local kids are out on the cement soccer field playing and enjoying the visit from the SOIL staff. As part of the effort to combat the current cholera outbreak SOIL placed health promotion materials in each toilet.

On our drive back from Port-Au-Prince and over the mountains we got word from Network members that the Ministry of Health was placing a staging clinic at the top of the mountain on the drive between Gonaives and Limbe/Cap. The purpose was to assist anyone who might be trying to travel with cholera from the areas of St. Marc and Gonaive to the north. Government officials had gotten word of some folks who were attempting this as hospitals in the Artibonite were reaching or overcapacity.

We had the opportunity to go by the hospital in St. Marc on our drive back as well. Many reports had suggested that the condition was dire their. While the hospital appeared full and there was quite a bit of traffic in and out of the gate, we did not witness anything that looked like the situation was out of control. We say that keeping in mind that the loss of those people who have already died from the outbreak is tragic, but it appeared at the time that while the hospital was stressed it was managing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NHAHA Thursday Notes

There have been many presenters today and a short summary and highlight of most is included below. Please feel free to email me at if you have questions about the presentations as I'd be happy to try to expand more on what the presenters said or try and grab them for a question.

Dr. Claude Surena (President of Haiti Medical Association): He spoke about the human resource issues within the Haitian healthcare system. Primarily the concerns are the incentives (financial and non-financial) provided to physicians and nurses. The system must do a better job of incenting its healthcare professionals to advance their work and stay in the country. He noted that it is a difficult problem as the Haitian budget for healthcare is very low. Much is done to try and train professionals but compensation for this training is not often in place. At the moment most healthcare professionals source additional work from NGO's to supplement their incomes, but this is not always a sustainable solution.

Dr. Rosier Morales (MSPP): The doctor spoke about Haiti's National Plan and its healthcare implications. The outline was very general but suggested that the country needed a decentralized system and that current priorities were to adapt to the needs post earthquake as well as establish a foundation from which to build capacity for the future.

Dr. Enrique Ginzburg (University of Miami Global Institute): The group has put forth a proposal for increases in Critical Care Centers in Haiti. These are trauma centers capable of handling burns, heart attacks, strokes, and maternal emergencies among other things. He suggested that to capitalize on the momentum of the earthquake 16 trauma centers be built throughout the country. The Bernard Mevs center would serve as a launching point that could train necessary professionals in an expedited fashion and in turn they would train more professionals. This exponential process would put healthcare workers through 6 months of training each and create capacity for 16 trauma centers. It is an aggressive plan for which much support and consensus building will be necessary before it becomes reality.

Dr. Diane Jean-Francois (Catholic Medical Mission Board):One of their primary projects has been increasing the health systems capacity to deal with amputees. Particularly they want to be able to provide them with prosthetics and have a coalition including Hangar Orthopedics and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti (among others) that are part of the effort. They are also focused on education for amputees and training in the trade of making prostheses.

Pediatrics Breakout Session: This session focused on the reduction of infant and neonatal mortality rates as well as nutrition programs. AS one would expect the mortality statistics for infants and newborns are quite bad although it has steadily improved for infants but not so much for neonates. One of MSPP's initiatives is to try and guarantee perinatal service access to all mothers and children. Many of the neonatal deaths are the results of conditions that can be effectively managed through proper perinatal care. Children's Nutrition Program from Jacmel also spoke about their long existing child nutrition program. They use an integrated approach that includes acute malnutrition treatment, nutrition education (Positive Deviance Hearth Programs to educate mothers of moderately malnourished), and clean water programs. The programs are overseen buy Haitian trained "monitrices" who monitor the children through the Ready To Use Therapeutic Foods(RUTF) programs and PD Hearth Programs. The RUTF program for severely malnourished uses Medika Mamba from Meds and Foods For Kids.

Stay tuned for updates from tomorrow's sessions and possibly video of a key speech or two!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Safely Arrived In Port-Au-Prince

After a two day journey Ralph and I safely arrived in Port-Au-Prince this evening and are staying with some other Network members at the Healing Hands Guesthouse. We will be attending the National Haitian American Health Alliance Conference here over the next three days and will provide summaries and updates on the blog as fast as we can.

Our drive from Cap Haitien was an interesting one as we encountered some fog coming over the mountains during yesterday's leg to Gonaives. Ralph was very concerned that I not drive off the "cliffhangers" and he said that I proved my mettle as a driver by navigating them successfully. In Gonaives we were graciously hosted by Pastor Michele Morriset and had an opportunity to learn more about their mission and tour the hospital they have. We left them several boxes of medical supplies for which they were very thankful. I was fascinated to meet Dr. Clair who moved to Gonaives after finishing her medical school in France 25 years ago and has been working with Pastor Morriset's mission ever since.

While we are here at the conference our colleagues are busy back in Cap Haitien as they have been spending time with Clean The World during their visit to the north. After we all met William Lowery and his team at the airport yesterday Juline and Brunel went with them to Labadee and learned more about the organization's program and then spent some time this morning delivering soap with them in the Cap Haitien area. This was the soap that Ralph and I had traveled to Labadee to pick up last Saturday. We used some real creativity and some help from the Royal Caribbean staff to carry three pallets worth of goods back over the mountain to Cap Haitien in only two trips in the Team Vehicle (photos below).

On a more personal note, tonight was the first time I have had an internet connection robust enough for Skype so I was able to talk and see my parents (and dog) for the first time since arriving here which was exciting (mostly for my mom).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shada Visit/Haiti Hospital Appeal

Today Juline and Greg visited the Shada clinic with Ashley from SOIL. It was Greg's first trip into the Shada neighborhood, which sits below the bridge in Cap. The neighborhood is one of the city's poorest and sanitation is worse there than most places in the city. Today was a busy day for Dr. Jeanty, the clinics only clinician. With Dr. Jeanty and the clinic staff we discussed information about the clinic and using it as a site on Friday's for a malaria research project we will conduct using Rapid Diagnostic Tests from the Science with A Mission organization. Greg will be in the clinic on Friday's assisting Dr. Jeanty and running the malaria project and is very excited about helping out in the neighborhood. Today we also had the great pleasure of seeing Madame Bwa who has been delivering babies in the Shada area for 54 years. Nearly every person we passed spanning several generations had been birthed by her including Dr. Jeanty.

After we finished at the Shada clinic we went to visit Haiti Hospital Appeal's children rehab center. The children here all have various physical or mental disabilities. They spend 1 - 3 days a week at the center and the remainder of the week with their families. The staff there works so patiently with the kids and provides various therapies to help with their mobility and functioning. They also school someof the children and work with their families on techniques to improve the quality of life for the children. Juline and Greg spent nearly 3 hours there playing with and helping to feed the children. It was a very hard place to leave as the children were so enjoyable to be around. (Juline was too embarassed to have picture of her dancing for the children posted.)

We then met with Phil, who is the Treasurer for the organization building and operating Haiti Hospital Appeal. He toured us around the campus which includes the 24/7 clinic and the spinal cord rehabilitation unit that housed many spinal cord injury victims from the earthquake. The spinal cord center has discharged a majority of these patients who have returned home after completing much of their therapy. Each discharge has been trained to sew and given a sewing machine to provide them with a potential job skill.

Phil showed us the new buildings under construction on the campus which include a surgery unit, maternity ward, neonatal ward (with 5 incubators), and pediatric ward. The facility is quite impressive and the enthusiasm of Phil and the other staff was evident.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Haitian Ministries' Clinic Visit

Today we had the opportunity of visiting the Haitian Ministries' clinic in Lassoudray. The organization also supports a clinic in nearby Labruyere, which is run by the same medical staff. The two nurses and administrator alternate between the locations, serving the Lassoudray community on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the Labruyere community on Mondays and Fridays. On any particular day they transport essential equipment and supplies back and forth between the clinics.

[caption id="attachment_127" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Staff Photo"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_128" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Consultation Room"][/caption]

This system appears to work well for both the staff and communities as the distance between the clinics is manageable for the staff and the residents do not have to travel such long distances if they need primary medical care services.

We arrived during a busy clinic session as 10 – 15 people awaited care. A big thank you to the staff for accommodating us in the midst of this and we hope to help them in the immediate future with much needed supplies and over time with continued collaboration and dialogue.

Shada Clinic and For Haiti With Love Update

Shada Clinic

Today we had the pleasure of meeting with Ashley Dahlberg who is leading SOIL's efforts in the north which include the Shada Clinic. We had a productive discussion regarding the clinic which recently added a second day each week. It is now open both Wednesdays and Fridays. The Team will visit the clinic Wednesday with Ashley as I have never seen it before and hope to learn more about their needs. I also hope to help out in the clinic on Fridays and will potentially be using it as one of the sites for a malaria research project I am conducting as part of my work here.

For Haiti with Love

We also had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Presume and Roseline Dehart of For Haiti With Love. The organization operates a clinic in Cap that has a focus on treating burn victims. Burns are a very common injury for those in Haiti, particularly children. Burning trash and open charcoal cooking stoves unfortunately lead to many potential accidents.

The nurses at the clinic said that they typically see in excess of 60 people each day and are busiest in the morning. Burn victims are treated free of charge at the clinic and given follow up appointments for additional care of their wounds and re-bandaging. We arrived at the clinic to the cries of a 4-year old boy who had just been bandaged up for burns on his torso and both forearms. He had been pushed into a charcoal stove while playing with some other children. While I am confident that the good work For Haiti with Love is doing will help heal him, the obvious pain he was in and the look on his face is emblazoned in my memory (photo below).

The nurses at the clinic gave us a list of needed supplies and we hope to soon be able to help them out with those as we expect several shipments to arrive at any time. They reported that at times they even run out of the cream they use to treat the burns and gauze making it difficult for them to serve patients at all.

Our last stop of the day was the Orphanage and school that For Haiti with Love Operates. They have 50 girls at the orphanage who were all wonderful and had a great time joking with me in my limited Kreyol and playing with the hair on my arms (I have found that most children in Haiti are fascinated by this). The girls all looked very healthy and that is testament to the work they do their at the orphanage. They also operate a 1st through 6th grade school that has 158 students including the orphans. (Sorry we don't have a better picture but Dr. Kaplan says a professional photographer will be Team's next addition.)









It was a very productive day and we look forward to more to come!

Monday, October 11, 2010

First Week Adventures and Impressions

Hello All,

For those I do not know or have not met yet, my name is Greg Parker. I have recently joined the Network Support Team and will be working with them in Haiti for about 6 months. I arrived in Cap Haitien a week ago today and have been busy getting to know the team, many of the various Network facilities, and adjusting to my home at the Sonje Ayiti house in the Babiole neighborhood of Cap.

I won't recount all of our activities from the past week, but instead offer my general impressions and observations as well as promise much more frequent blogs from our team here. As has been the case with each of my previous visits to Haiti I was immediately struck by the contrast of the beauty of the landscape and the degree of the poverty. These elements are evident from the plane window before touching down and even more stark when driving through the streets of Cap and the surrounding areas. Poverty has brought about a lack of nearly all basic services, but it has not diminished the hospitality or spirit of the Haitian people. Everywhere we visit we are warmly received. I am particularly struck by the kindness and excitement of the children. Having been a middle school teacher in the states I have a particular fondness for working with kids, but am also well aware of how difficult they can sometimes be. In Haiti I am blown away by the character of the children be it a group of them singing for you, a girl caring for her younger siblings while transporting a load of goods home atop her head, or a classroom full of orphans diligently listening to there teacher while working with minimal and often substandard supplies.

As I continue working with the Team over the next several months I hope to be able to repay some of the hospitality and warmth I receive here with incremental improvements to the availability of healthcare in the region. To do that will require working closely with many of you and I look forward to that opportunity. Please let me know how we can be of assistance to you and allow me to help you with communicating and working with our team down here.


Greg Parker

Haitian Cell: 3-997-8891