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You will notice that we write quite often about the goal of providing primary health care to the people in the areasurrounding our clinic site in Gatineau. You may wonder what, exactly, is primary health care? Basically, it refers to the first level of health care in the community and may include some or all of the following:

  • First aid
  • Immunizations
  • Treatment of common (endemic) diseases
  • Nutrition education
  • Preventive activities
  • Family planning
  • Protection of water sources
  • Sanitation
  • Peri-natal care

Many of the services mentioned above can be provided by community health agents –  trained lay persons who are stable members of the community and who carry out community education, first aid, newborn checks, weighing of babies, etc. They act as the first providers of health care in the community and can refer patients to the clinic for more definitive care when needed. Health agents also keep track of all pregnancies, births and deaths in the community and usually conduct periodic censuses of the community for statistical purposes. Of the sixteen communities we visited in our initial needs and resource assessment, only three received theservices of a community health agent. Community leaders everywhere expressed a desire to have health agents in their community in the future; a desire we hope to help them fulfill.

We have just gone through a very wet rainy season and the road we have to travel up the mountain from Jeremie to our clinic site has become nearly impassable.  We’ve been pleading with the local government transportation director to make some repairs to it, so please pray with us that our concerns will be heeded!

Every Tuesday and Thursday we hold clinic in a little house on the clinic site.  We’ve been seeing quite a few cases of malaria lately, so we try to do some education with the patients about preventing it in the future.  Our community education begins during “teachable moments” like these in the clinic setting.  In the future, we hope to train health agents to continue this education in the communities themselves.

As the holiday season approaches, we realize how much we have been blessed by generous people like you who give to us so that we can give to the people of Haiti.  May God’s blessings be with you as you celebrate the season of our Savior’s birth.

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