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.
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On Feb. 20, 2012, Tony Marcelli of Casco Shipping, Elisabeth, Joshua, Anna, and I had the pleasure of taking Customs Director Romel Bell to meet and discuss our mutual work at Food for the Poor Headquarters in Coconut Creek, Florida (not too far north of Ft. Lauderdale) and at IBC headquarters at the Ft. Lauderdale international airport.
At Food for the Poor, thanks to our friend Artie Gold the shipping director, we were honored to be received by President Robin Mahfood, Exec. Director Angel Aloma, Mark Khouri of Procurement, and Javier Ramirez of International Goods in Kind in a very thorough and positive meeting. FFTP has been working with our Network from the start, and it was great for us both to learn more about the core mission and operating principles of each other. There is a synerg;y of purpose that is as perfect as can possibly be imagined, so everyone was in high spirits about the potential to move forward towards even greater things!
Our partnership started with the inauguration of the St. Anthony's clinic, donation of solar lights, and the installation of Dr. Eugene as doctor at St. Anthony's clinic at Nativity Village near the airport in 2008, and we have continued with our work in distribution of medications and medical supplies with ASAP that we now do on a continuing basis, and was highlighted during our recent meeting (and blog post) with Monsignor Kabreau.
Our Network Support Team will be on the lookout for requests from Network facilities for specific items and refer those requests to Geordani Jean Baptiste, and this system is working well currently and will be more publicized and clarified during facility and organization visits by the Team and Network meetings and communications.
The FFTP delegation was very receptive to our message to liason with our medical experts on medication offers and to be on the look out for more of essential meds, such as antibiotics, anthhypertensives, skin (griseofulvin or terbenafine for Tinea capitis, permethrin, benzyl benzoate or ivermectin for scabies, mupirocin for impetigo, antifungal creams), etc.
They explained to us that while they cannot send directed donations with their shipments, we are welcome and encouraged to send nondirected donation offers that we receive and which are too large to handle ourselves and/or out of the medical realm to Mark and Javier for FFTP to ship and distribute in their extensive network all around Haiti. For example, they feed 400,000 people in Haiti every day!! They have a system in place to report back to us and the donors on who received the donations, and I think that this will be a much easier choice for many donors!!
Everyone agreed that Director Bell has been a great person to work with and that customs issues are greatly decreased and working well for them in recent months in Cap Haitien. Director reiterated that he is available to assist in any customs related issues, with Elisabeth available as a liason and interpreter when needed.
As we also discussed, we will be expanding the Network concept to the Nippes region this year, with our friend and partner Dr. Ralph Gousse, as both Networks have come under the umbrella of the US and Haitian organizations he directs, Haiti Help Med Plus.
Everyone was pleased and look forward to continuing and increasing our work together for the poor in northern Haiti, and all over Haiti, in exciting new times!
Next, Tony, Director Bell, and I went to IBC headquarters at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. We met with Mr. Richard Rose, Director of Business Development for the airline that currently has the only US service into Cap Haitien. His message is "We are here to stay". They have plans to expand service to be announced in the coming months, and we are happy, with the help of their ticketing agent Tony Marcelli, to open this channel of communication with government and customers such as our Network members to help each other grow to help Haiti develop.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, our Team headed out on a grand tour of the Grand Riviere section of the Nord Department. We started on NR 3 out of Quartier Morin--this road will someday soon be fixed as part of the overall rehab of NR 3 from PAP to Cap, unfortunately, that did not help us today, as it was a true lunar landscape slow motion ride! With our car full of walkers and crutches that we received from Network partner For Haiti with Love to distribute at the clinics. Our first stop was the Dondon MSPP clinic where we met Dr. Yslande Amazan, who has been practicing general practice there for 1 year. The clinic also has 2 nurses and 2 nursing assistants (n.a.). The only outside help this clinic has received has been from Oxfam and MSF for cholera--a new separate building was build, plus they have a tent and a new water system.Dondon Clinic sees 10-20 pts/day, and they had 2 cases of cholera last week. They send referral to Milot, Justinian, and Grand Riviere. We left some meds in their pharmacy and got back on the rugged road.
Next we moved on to the dusty valley town of St. Raphael. Our first stop there was at the newly built St Raphael MSPP clinic.
It was quite impressive, with the old building being used for storage, and the new building clean and nicely laid out, even having 2 observation/short stay rooms. The Medical Director is Dr. Wesly Louis, and our friend and neighbor to our depot, Dr. Adeski Moise is the second doctor there. They have 6 nurses, 3 lab techs and some lab aids. They can test for malaria, Widal test, urinalysis and pregnancy test, vaginal smears, syphilis, parasites, and blood count by microscope. (lab pictured)They refer to the St. Raphael Baptist Hospital (see next) for deliveries. HIV care and admissions are sent to Pignon.They have a nice procedure room they use for sutures, draining abcesses, deliveriesOne thing they needed was more antibiotics (hardly any in their pharmacy, also pictured), including ceftriaxone. They also asked for chairs (got 20 from ASAP). We saw the scale we distributed to them from DRIThey also have a nice call room. They have a generator and 8 batteries, but currently the inverter is broken.No cholera cases now.USAID/MSH pays some of the salaries along with MSPP. We left them some meds for their pharmacy.Over in a much quieter area behind most of the town is the Baptist Hospital of St. Raphael, that was started many years ago by the family of Pastors there, now led by Pastor Serge Fayette. Pastor Fayette met us and took us on a tour of this facility, that 2 years ago they turned into a hospital, from a clinic. It is quite large, at least 7000 square feet, and has a voluminous waiting room that is sometimes used for meetings (pictured). Currently they have 1 doctor, Dr. Bertane Adrien Nivol, 2 nurses, 4 NA, and 1 lab tech. They have 1 x-ray machine. Their administrator is Jonas Norvil. They see from 10-25 patients per day. During cholera, they saw 2060 patients and 40 died. MSF helped them after a month into the epidemic, but are gone now and there are no patients with cholera currently. They have a materniaty and postpartum area, OR (in disrepair), medical wards, call rooms, storage, etc, and are open 24 hours. They have 3 big broken generates and 2 propane generators that are too expensive for them to run regularly (100 US per day).They also have a 252 foot deep well and a nice guest house and doctors quarters nearby. They get meds from ASAP and there is a Dr. Gary in New York that has a plan to try to help. Unfortunately, they are currently struggling greatly financially.We left some meds and crutches/walkers and then bid adieu to Pastor Fayette and went on to pass through Pignon, where we stopped briefly to see the Famous Hospital of Dr. Guy Theodore. We met his nephew, who is an administrator there, and several other doctors and administrator in the courtyard, but Dr. Theodore was not there. We invited the group of leaders to join the Network, and then moved on to the La Victoire MSPP Clinic. Even though it was mid afternoon by time we got there, this clinic was packed!! There doctor is Dr. Elie Joseph. Mdm Philistine is the nurse, who came and got materials from the Project Cure container for this clinic. They have 6 solar panels, but no electricity now due to bad batteries. They were in the process of giving the clinic a new paint job on the day of our visit. They do not have running water. They do have an observation/delivery area. World Food Program helps them with a nutrition program. We left them some more meds.Next we hit the rockiest and harshest road to go into Ranquitte. This is probably where the oil reservoir of our Network's vehicle got punctured (see below). Ranquitte is also where Team leader Djailcovsky grew up, and he knows lots of people on the streets! First there we stopped at the, at this point, empty Centre de Sante Ranquitte. It has 3 in patient beds, 1 nurse, 3 NA, but no doctor. We left some antibiotics from Globus and went on to the Bendawest Clinic of Christian Flights International in a compound in another part of town. Ronnie and Rachel Allen, nurses from Kentucky in the US, recently started a one year stint in the clinic. Ronnie is a neonatal nurse and also does adult step down ICU care. Rachel works in the ICU. They showed us around along with Fresnel, the Administrator (earlier in our trip, we met Dr. McMorrow and Lesley Smart from CFI). We learned that there are 26000 people in the town, and no doctor. They have 3 teams a year from CFI (and there is a team from Peacework Medical that comes annually). Ivy Solomon started this mission and ran it for 50 years; she is in US now in poor health. Ramide is the Haitian nurse in charge, and there is another nurse that works with her. They do TB tests there, and have a malnutrition program. The clinic is registered with MSPP. They do not do vaccines. They have 6 Solar panels with a battery system for the refridgerator in the clinic. We left meds for their pharmacy, and then discovered that there was a leak from the oil reservoir of our vehicle. Ronnie and some of the people in the village found some silicon sealant to put a temporary patch so we could continue our journey....We called ahead to our next stop, the Catholic clinic in Bahon for them to try to locate us some motor oil, which they were starting to do when we arrived on the much better "other side" of the road, no longer NR 3, that goes along the Grand Riviere. We came down the mountain from Ranquitte and arrived at the church in Bahon in the darkness. I have corresponded for a few years with Patty from the twin parish in Nashville, Tennessee, but it was great to finally meet her in person. We have come to Bahon several times, but this is the first time when the twin parish team was there. We had a great discussion about the Network and medical care in Haiti with there enthusiastic and dedicated team, and got a little bit more oil for our car, before heading out in the dark. Should we stop at Grand Riviere and Milot hospitals???? Exhaustion and safety won out, our vehicle persevered, and we made it back to Cap for one more day of visits planned. (fortunately, our friends' mechanic was able to repair the vehicle the next day, although it grounded us for the morning, it could have been much worse!) Ted and Elisabeth Kaplan
Juline and Covsky from our Network Support Team had their hands full yesterday as we (and several other Network organizations) received large shipments from the Operation Handclasp of the US Navy. This opportunity was organized for us by Marianne Stevenson of our partner organization Aerobridge.
The Network itself received 5 pallets of soap from Clean the World, 10 pallets of Biosilver Disinfectant donated by Steven Epstein of Mid-Continent Packaging, Inc., and 11 pallets of medications and supplies from Direct Relief International. There were many more pallets received by other organizations.
We were aided (rescued?) by our great Network partners Father Geordani of ASAP of the Catholic Diocese and Gabie Vincent of Sonje Ayiti who lent us their large transport trucks to receive and take to our storage the materials, and to start to distribute the Biosilver. Despite some inevitable challenges that slowed down our schedule, Juline with Wancito from Sonje Ayiti were able to deliver pallets of Biosilver to Network partners Danita's Children in Ounaminthe, Ft. Liberte Hospital/Caritas in Ft. Liberte, and Haiit Hospital Appeal/Baptist Convention Hospital in Quartier Morin yesterday (pictures in next entry).
The Network Support Team will be starting next week distributing meds, supplies, soap, and Biosilver to clinics all around the region.
Notre Dame de la Merci clinic is located in Robillard and run by Father Andre Sylvestre. The clinic is open 5 days a week Moday-Friday from 9am- 3pm, the clinic has 1 doctor, 1 nurse and 2 assistant nurses. The church is twin with a parish and the clinic received 1 medical trip each year and one construction team come twice a year. Today the medical team came and it has 1 pediatric, two other doctors and some medical students,they will start consultation tomorrow and they are leaving next week. The construction team builted the clinic, the vocational school and water system for the people of community to come and get clean water from the chruch. The clinic charges 25 gudes for consultation and medications are not included, the patients that have high blood pressure, and who are diabetes get their medication free. The women who are pregnant only pay 250 gudes for 9 monthes and medication are free of charge. The clinic received about 250 patients per month, the clinic use to have a CTC there for the people of Robillard but it been one week since MSPP close it down because they couldnt pay the staff
anymore they said the cholera rate has gone down. When receive cholera patients they send them to HHA.
Our Network Support Team with Elisabeth and I and nursing students from Ohio and Trish and Walter from Friends of Ft. Liberte all visited the once anonymous village of Caracol, by the ocean in the northeast. Now it is the site of the new Industrial Park that is being built, fortunately on the way in to town and not on the water, and is expected to have eventually 60000 workers there.
There is currently still only a MSPP clinic in town, and a dispensaire. The MSPP clinic is supported by the priest, Father du Village, who was out of town again on this visit, but he sent his associate priest to meet us. We also met the two nurses, Mortimer Helen, who works for the church, and Nadege Lamour, who works for MSPP. As we learned on our last visit in February 2011, the nurses deliver babies. Since then, they have gotten a doctor, currently Dr. Riviere Maite who works there 3 days a week.
The pharmacy is down the street from the clinic in the Catholic school. We saw a lot of meds that we had sent from Direct Relief on their shelves. Edna Pierre works in the pharmacy (pictured). We were told they had trouble getting amoxicillin, cipro, and cotrimoxazole. Fortunately we had cipro with us supplied by Globus Relief, and gave the pharmacy a tray of 12 bottles of 100 tabs of cipro.
They also have an ambulance, which we saw parked in the school courtyard, which is of interest as an emergency medical system is developed for the area.
There was also a request for HIV drugs, as there are problems with women refusing to go to the official clinics for that. We explained that we did not want to do that in a less than fully organized way due to the potential for resistance to develop with inconsistent use, but understand the problem and will try to look for a solution. There was also a request for condoms.
We saw the village cholera tent in another part of the village, which has no patients at this time (as was the case in all of the cholera facilities we saw on this trip, thank goodness).
They have electricity for the clinic, but need a nebulizer. There is still unused radiology equipment in the clinic.
We also met a member of the Presbyterian church of Pator Payotte, named Kinson, as Pastor was also not available on that day. Kinson showed us the school where the visiting teams from Indiana come 3-4 times per year, whom I have met before on their way out of the area. The water system that has been developed there is pictured in the photo.
Kinson says that a team of dentists is coming soon. We asked for the dates of all teams so we can make services know to the Network. Kinson says that all are welcome to the visiting team clinics.
We have been asking to try to find out what the Industrial park plans for healthcare services for all the new people, and try to get all those interested in the village on board to make things as good as possible in the mean time and hopefully benefitting in the near future from greater resources for healthcare.
On Jan. 27th, we had the chance to find out what that nice clinic many of us pass by on the way west out of Cap is all about. It is labeled "Clinique Medico Churirgical" and I always assumed it was a private outpatient surgery center. Well it is...and it isn't.
It is operated by Dr. Guy Dugue, who has practice in the area for over 25 years, in Cap and at this clinic. The clinic is actually a community clinic for the poor, empahasizing family planning, prenatal care, and general medicine and pediatrics, supported by USAID, MSPP, and PEPFAR. Dr. Dugue works there as well as his daugher Gaelle, who is a nurse trained at Justinian Hospital's nursing school. His other daughter, Gessica, who completed medical school and internship in the DR, also helps him for now, as well as a staff of nurses, nurses aids, lab techs, an administrator, and a pharmacy person. Things are well organized and professional. (The OR, lab, and pharmacy are pictured.)
At the clinic, they have placed 2000 norplants, they do HIV testing and treatment, they do vasectomies and tubal ligations, and do recurring mobile clinics in the remote areas of Balan, Duty, and Gileron.
We provide 6 hemostats and later in the week were able to give a donated autoclave, after their autoclave finally gave out after 20 years!!
Dr. Dugue welcomes assistance from visiting teams and supporting organizations to work with him in this important work.
We were invited by Pastor Rwosvelt Chery to visit Campion, in the sugar cane fields between Vaudreuil and Milot. Elisabeth has been there before when Joshua was an infant.
This is an especially undeveloped area. The church is in a native shelter, and they do not have any buildings for a school or clinic. Pastor has found a church in the US, CrossPointe Church of Alabama, whose mission efforts are coordinated by Mike Nevin, to start to help them. They have built a small building for storage of supplies, dug a well, started a school, and made over 100 concrete "Fossa Alterna" latrines in the area. They have a nurse coming weekly to do clinic, but no medication sponsorship--the Network has given some soap in the past and will supply medications as well in the future.
Our family was graciously blessed by the Pastor in Sunday services, especially for our son with the powerful biblical name, Joshua David!
We are encouraged with some progress being made in Campion.
Lutherien clinic is located in Madeline,Cap-Haitien. the clinic has 1 nurse but no doctor, 1 lab technician, and 1 staff working in the pharmacy. They received about 3oo patients per month, open five days a week Monday-Friday from 7:30am - 2:00pm, there was a doctor name Sherly ever since the chrolera outbrake she left the clinic, Pastor Eliona is in process of finding a doctor for the clinic. The pastor is losing most of his patients because the people of the community do not want a nurse to do consultation for them, charge of consultation is 50 gourdes without medications include. It depend on what kind of medication for the patients to be charge because the clinic buy their own medication for the pharmacy to stay in function, if the medication are donated they do not charge their patients. Lutherien clinic is not partnering with any organizations only the Lutherien church from the states send medical team every year, when they do come they see 500 people in one week. Pastor Eliona is adding a new part to the clinic for X-ray, Dental and a observation room but it is not completed because the pastor does not have any fund.
Elisabeth and I finally had a chance to visit Ft. Liberte for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 28. We were led by Trish Putnam, a nurse practitioner from near D.C., who also had her husband Walter with her for his first trip to Haiti.
Trish is with the Friends of Ft. Liberte that has been working for many years there to develop a clinic, and has supported the development of schools, an orphanage, and a farm. They work closely with Pastor Andre Jean, who we had the pleasure of meeting. He has been working for over 30 years and has build impressive development projects for the community.
The clinic was very nice and well organized and supplied. They have a Haitian doctor, 2 nurses, and Ti Papi is the clinic manager. They have a lab with a lab technicican, and do malaria, blood type, urinalysis, Widal test, and QBC counts, among other tests. Several visiting teams of medical professionals come there every year to supplement the ongoing clinic. Mary, a PA, was there working already at that time. (Trish and Nancy then helped us with a health screening at an orphanage in Vaudreuil.)
We noticed that the church and guest house of Pastor Andre was across the street from Caritas of the Northeast, headed by our friend Father Medenal. We spoke with both Father Medenal and Pastor Andre of this coincidence and encouraged them to work together on health projects that they both work on, which they were very receptive to doing.
We also visited the beautiful new orphanage buildings being built by a visiting construction team of Friends of Ft. Liberte.
On our way out of town, we stopped by the government hospital in Ft. Liberte, and met the orthopedic team brought in by Berry Rice of Clinique Esperance et Vie of Terrier Rouge, who was setting up to do orthopedic surgeries in the coming week. We had sent out a message to the Network about this opportunity, and were looking for cases in our travels (we ended up sending 3 patients).
On Tuesday, Jan. 31 we made a visit to Ounaminthe to see the new Network organization called FONDATION HAITIENNE DE REHABILITATION otherwise known as FONHARE. It was started a few months ago by Haitian physical therapist Ivens Louisis, who had worked for the prior 6 years in the Dominican Republic, after getting his trianing in physical therapy. He knew there was great need for his services in Haiti and decided to come back to contribute to his country.
The initial clinic is in a room at his brother's "Polyclinic" on Rue Liberte in Ounaminth. Dr. Fresnel Louisis is an obstetrician, and there is also an internal medicine physician there.
Ivens has 2 therapy tables, some electrical stim and other modalities. We brought him some more crutches and walkers that we got from For Haiti With Love. He sent a patient that was been seen then, with an above knee amputation and run down crutches, out on one of the crutches we provided.
We let him know that there was an orthopedic team in Ft. Liberte that day and the next day that could help the amputee's infected stump and another patient's ACL knee injury (we found out later that day that there was ANOTHER ortho team actually operating in Ounaminthe that week--we got both other their contacts and will try to help everyone be more coordinated with that information in the future!!). We also informed the orthopedic teams that there was a PT available--Ivens-- who could help their patients with post operative rehabilitation, which they were worried about and thought would have to wait until their next trip!!
Ivens and Fresnel showed us the site of the new OB office and FONHARE therapy centers, that will be next to each other on the main road from Cap to the DR that goes through the center of Ounaminthe. It is an impressive new building that will have all the modern amenities and be a good place to refer patients for PT or OB care. Dr. Louisis does ultrasounds for 500 gourdes--which is a very reasonable way to get OB ultrasounds when needed.
We enjoyed learning about FONHARE and Ivens is very enthusiastic about networking with other rehab programs in our Network, with the goal of making services available and convenient all over the region and country.
On the last day of our trip, our Network car needed some repairs after braving NR 3 to Ranquitte. When it was ready, we took the opportunity to finally visit a few Network partners in the Vaudreuil area, where we had been staying but always leaving!
Father Abraham, now the priest of Bord de Mer Limonade (which does not have any staff for their clinic!) has set up his initial goat and small animal farm where he hopes to raise meet for protein and for funds to help orphanages in the region. It is out in Plain du Nord, not too far from Vaudreuil, up on a hill in a beautiful area, with several goats, chickens, pigs, and a cow, just like Old Macdonald's farm!
We have already started linking Father Abraham with orphanages and other pertinent organizations within the Network.
I finally got to see one of Elisabeth's favorite places, Mama Baby Haiti, the birthing center opened by an organization of midwives and naturopathic doctors last year.
Currently, they have 3 Haitian midwives working there along with a rotation of visiting US midwives and naturopaths.
They have 3 delivery rooms. They run prenatal clinic in another room. In their dormitory they have a pharmacy that features homeopathic preparations along with more standard medications.
They have also developed sustainable gardens and a chicken coop in their yard.
Sarah is the on site director now, and she is planning a seminar for March on maternal-fetal topics.
Finally, we stopped by and visited Geordani Jean Baptiste, formerly in charge of St. Francois de Sales parish and hospital, now working for the Catholic Diocese's ASAP projects, where they receive and distribute medications from Food for the Poor and other Catholic charities, and they are developing a guest house for visiting volunteers that is going to open soon. They have a medication/supply depot and a truck that they will make available to the Network when needed for larger scale distributions that our own vehicles cannot handle.
It was a pleasure to have a soda with Geordani at the site of his new project.
Thanks to our friend and ambassador for the Network, Madame Maude Dugue, Elisabeth and I had the chance to meet with Monsignor Louis Kebreau, the Archbishop of Cap Haitien at the Diocese headquarters on the main plaza in Cap on Feb. 2. He was very gracious as baby Anna crawled on the floor of his receiving parlor. He is already familiar with what we have been doing, supportive of the Network, and is very sympathetic to the need to make the most of available resources to improve healthcare services in the area. He suggested we continue to work with Geordani Jean Baptiste, who is supervising the medication efforts for the Diocese. We look forward to continuing this relationship on behalf of the Network.