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As you may know, we began a wonderful partnership a year ago with Avera, Health, a hospital corporation that is based in Sioux Falls, SD and serves rural communities throughout SD and neighboring states.  For many years they have had an Avera Health Haiti Mission that has sent volunteers, supplies, equipment and medication to organizations in the Jérémie area of Haiti.  For the past year, we have had the privilege of being partners with Avera Health and have benefitted from their dedicated volunteer groups coming to help out in our clinic in Gatineau.  A group of 6 visited us in late May and we were delighted to have them.  We love their commitment to the Lord and their desire to have an impact in Haiti by working through a long-term, stable, on-site organization such as ours.  It is so much more effective than bringing down a team of volunteers to work for a week and then leave without anyone on the ground to continue the work.  In our opinion, this is an ideal partnership because they help us do our job of service better and we give them a place to use their skills and expertise in a global health setting where the medical needs are tremendous.

The timing of the group’s visit was perfect, since our pharmacy technician, Guy-Johns Chevalier was scheduled to be in PAP at a seminar that week.  So, nurses Pat Erpenbach and Rosemary Murphy filled in for Guy-Johns, assisted at times by Adrien, Cherlie and myself.  They did a great job filling prescriptions, taking money and giving receipts and packing medications.

Nurse Pat fills out patient receipt for purchase of medications

Nurse Pat fills out patient receipt for purchase of medications

Nurse Rosemary helps in the pharmacy by counting pills and putting them in small plastic bags to sell to patients

Nurse Rosemary helps in the pharmacy by counting pills and putting them in small plastic bags to sell to patients

Geri and Jerome Malsom came as a dynamic team – Geri as a nurse and Jerome as mechanic and overall fix-it man.  Geri helped with patient vital signs and patient education and Jerome fixed broken generators and batteries, helped build and stock shelving units in the residence, put up shower curtain rods in the residence bathrooms and inspected all the tools in our workshop.

Geri and Jerome Malsom made a terrific team!

Geri and Jerome Malsom made a terrific team!

Nurse Geri helps Dr. Wolf perform a Pap smear on a patient. The group takes the Pap smear slides back to SD where they are read and reports are sent back to the clinic for follow up.

Nurse Geri helps Dr. Wolf perform a Pap smear on a patient. The group takes the Pap smear slides back to SD where they are read and reports are sent back to the clinic for follow up.

Jerome stands next to shelving unit he and Christian built. He then organized all the linens and supplies in the residence store room.

Jerome stands next to shelving unit he and Christian built. He then organized all the linens and supplies in the residence store room.

Kathy English was the group’s team leader and did another magnificent job in keeping everyone fed and organized.  She assisted with Pap smears and helped Cherlie distribute gifts of clothing and sacks to our patients that week.  She also helped organize our storeroom full of gifts to be given in the future.  Wherever she goes, there are smiles of gratitude!

Nurse Kathy sits with a patient who has just received gifts.

Nurse Kathy sits with a patient who has just received gifts.

Cherlie and Kathy engage in an intense conversation in the clinic

Cherlie and Kathy engage in an intense conversation in the clinic

Christian Swenson, the youngest member of the Avera team proved to be a very adept carpenter, finishing construction of a large table and several shelving units in the laboratory room and a large cart to hold gastroscopes for future use doing GI endoscopy.

Christian working in the clinic workshop to create some beautiful shelving units

Christian working in the clinic workshop to create some beautiful shelving units

Not only was Christian a good carpenter, he was a good cook. He got up early and fixed coffee and oatmeal for the rest of the team. Here he’s cutting up a fresh watermelon – a treat in Jeremie.

Not only was Christian a good carpenter, he was a good cook. He got up early and fixed coffee and oatmeal for the rest of the team. Here he’s cutting up a fresh watermelon – a treat in Jeremie.

In addition to all of their hard work, the Avera team also transported medications and medical supplies for use in our clinic.  We are grateful for their generous support of FHH and our ministry in Haiti and look forward to the next Avera team in a few months.  Thanks for all of your efforts on our behalf!

Pat walking in the clinic hallway with her hands full of medications to pack for the pharmacy

Pat walking in the clinic hallway with her hands full of medications to pack for the pharmacy

Rosemary takes some time out to love on a little baby

Rosemary takes some time out to love on a little baby

This little boy’s tears soon turned to joy when he received a toy car, thanks to our Avera friends

This little boy’s tears soon turned to joy when he received a toy car, thanks to our Avera friends

Here is the whole team together on their last day at the clinic:

Avera team (Top row left to right: Pat, Jerome, Christian, bottom row left to right: Geri, Rosemary, Kathy)

Avera team (Top row left to right: Pat, Jerome, Christian, bottom row left to right: Geri, Rosemary, Kathy)

 

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For several years we have been blessed to be an overseas clinical site for nursing students at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing taking their Public Health Nursing course as undergraduate BSN students.  Twice each year we have had a group of 9 students and one faculty member come down to Haiti to work with us in our Water and Sanitation Program as well as assist with patient consultations in our outpatient clinic in Gatineau.  Over the years, these students and their incredibly dedicated faculty have helped us train our Community Promoters, train our census workers, evaluate our water and sanitation program, provide community education in communities far from the clinic and work beside us in giving medical and nursing care in our clinic.  They have had a huge role to play in the success of our community development efforts and we are grateful for the ongoing relationship we have had with the School of Nursing.

As with most things in life, things change and Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has decided to make their nursing program a masters level program now, doing away with the Public Health Nursing course.  But, thanks to faculty member Diana Baptiste and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health faculty member Pablo Yori, we have now entered into a new relationship with both the School of Nursing and the School of Public Health (which is where I obtained my MPH degree).  Diana and Pablo and graduate student Sabianca Delva joined Dr. Nicole Warren and her last group of undergraduate nursing students on a visit to us in early May.  Nicole and her students led a training session for 12 new Community Promoters, helped us out in the clinic with patient care and education and visited a far away community to conduct a community education session with the community members.

New community promoters work together on an assignment during their training session

New community promoters work together on an assignment during their training session

Promoters learn how to construct a tippy-tap as a means of washing hands

Promoters learn how to construct a tippy-tap as a means of washing hands

Promoters take a test on the last day of class.

Promoters take a test on the last day of class.

12 new community promoters with Gemi, Dr. Wolf and instructors

12 new community promoters with Gemi, Dr. Wolf and instructors

JHSON team on the residence porch.  Standing:  Michelle, Melissa, Ellie, Leah, Colleen.  Squatting:  Julia, Suzie, Augusta, Abi and faculty member Dr. Nicole Warren.

JHSON team on the residence porch. Standing: Michelle, Melissa, Ellie, Leah, Colleen. Squatting: Julia, Suzie, Augusta, Abi and faculty member Dr. Nicole Warren.

Diana, Pablo and Sabi visited several water sources in the area and observed how the local people obtain, transport and store their water.  In addition, they saw some of the new latrines that have just been constructed in our Promoter communities and assisted the students in their community education activities.  Pablo has been working in the field of water and sanitation for many years in Peru and we were thrilled to be able to have him observe and give feedback on our own community development efforts.  Both Diana and Sabi are Haitian-Americans and speak Creole fluently, so they were a huge help during the community visits.  We all spent some time discussing together the future of our partnership with Johns Hopkins and possible areas of collaboration.  Some of those areas may involve doing clinical research, providing opportunities for graduate students to get some field experience and multi-disciplinary assistance with our water and sanitation program.  We look forward to what lies in store for all of us!

 The team, including Pablo, hike to a far away community of Milfort to visit two new promoters and conduct a community education session.

The team, including Pablo, hike to a far away community of Milfort to visit two new promoters and conduct a community education session.

Faculty member Diana Baptiste, showing off her new FHH t-shirt (available through the FHH store on our website!)

Faculty member Diana Baptiste, showing off her new FHH t-shirt (available through the FHH store on our website!)

The entire team on their last day in Jeremie (Top from left:  Diana, Pablo, Julia, Melissa, Nicole, Sabi, Abi, Leah, Augusta)  (Sitting from left:  Suzie, Coleen, Michelle, Ellie)

The entire team on their last day in Jeremie (Top from left: Diana, Pablo, Julia, Melissa, Nicole, Sabi, Abi, Leah, Augusta) (Sitting from left: Suzie, Coleen, Michelle, Ellie)

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