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JANUARY 21, 2018

 At Friends for Health in Haiti we highly value those people and organizations that choose to partner with us so that we are able to accomplish our mission of improving health and changing lives in Haiti.  We’ve been privileged to have visits from many of these partners, as they contribute their time, energy and financial resources to help us out in our work.

Earlier this month we had a visit from Patrick Harrington and his daughter, Anna.  Patrick is the founder and director of a non-profit organization called Project Agua, dedicated to helping improve the availability of water and sanitation in needy communities around the world.  They have helped dig wells and build latrines in the Dominican Republic and are now beginning to help out in Haiti.

Patrick and Anna

Patrick and Anna pose for a photo outside our clinic.

Patrick and Anna visited some local water sources to see how the springs have been capped, making water accessible to hundreds of people.  Patrick enjoyed getting up close and personal with the water!

Patrick water source

Patrick checking the flow of water from a capped water source

They also went out into some local communities to see the latrines that we’ve built as well as hurricane houses.  Project Agua donated chlorine tablets after the hurricane as well as funds that were used for hurricane relief.

Anna in community

Anna visiting a family whose house was built with tin and nails that FHH provided.  On the left is our community worker Viel Laurent.

Patrick and Anna were able to visit also with Ellie Olander, a fourth year medical student from the Medical College of Wisconsin who’s with us for the month of January.

Ellie

Ellie being introduced at the beginning of a clinic day

All three of our visitors helped us with a continuing education seminar that we held with our second set of Community Promoters.  These promoters were trained in May 2016 by faculty and students from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.  Their educational activities in the communities were interrupted by the hurricane of October 2016.  Now, they are back on track again and we had them come to the clinic for further evaluation, feedback and training.  The most enjoyable activity of the day was having the Promoters do role-playing, as they gave an educational lesson with the rest of the promoters acting as “students”.  The “teachers” were impressive as they responded to the “student” hecklers.

Using booklet

Promoter team teaches a lesson using the Promoter’s booklet with illustrations

 

Promoters and Patrick

Promoter group poses for a photo with Patrick

 

When one lives in Haiti or visits here, you never know what might confront you on the road up to the clinic in the morning.  Such was the case when we found the road blocked by a large bus that had overturned the night before, blocking the road to all but motorcycle traffic.  Or, so we thought.

Overturned bus

crowd had already gathered around the overturned bus.  

We stood around talking with the locals until a local truck driver suggested that we might be able to squeeze our jeep by the overturned bus.  So, try we did, balancing between a steep drop-off on the right and the iron roof rack on the bus to our left.

First try

We aborted our first try when it was obvious we couldn’t get the back of the jeep past the iron roof rack of the bus.

The first attempt was unsuccessful, so I backed up the jeep, hugging the side of the road on the right and, with guys holding down the roof rack of the busy, made it past with only a couple of small scratches to the jeep.  Needless to say, the 60+ patients who were waiting for us in the clinic that day were thrilled!

Second try

One group of men held the roof rack down as others pushed the top of the jeep away from the bus, allowing us to finally pass.

Once I got past the obstacle, I got down from the jeep and gave everyone a huge thanks!

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Friends for Health in Haiti wishes all of our readers a very Happy New Year! We trust you all had a blessed holiday season and that you are now ready to see what challenges this new year has to bring.

In our work in Haiti, we are always interested in expanding our services and programs, both in our outpatient clinic and in the surrounding communities, as long as those services are truly needed by the population we serve. It is an underlying tenet of our work that we seek to use our precious resources to have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people. So, that means that we have to be very discerning and wise about how we use the funds that are entrusted to us by our generous donors.

At our clinic in Gatineau, we provide general medical and pediatric consultations, provide prenatal care, including ultrasounds, do cervical cancer screening by offering Pap smears and breast cancer screening to those women who have breast masses detected on clinical exam. In December 2017 we took another major step forward in our medical services by offering to do minor surgical procedures for patients with things such as lipomas, cysts, hernias and hydroceles. This was possible due to the willingness of Milwaukee surgeon Dr. Joseph Battista and his wife, Pam Schulz, who is a nurse practitioner, to come for a week’s visit with us. Dr. Battista practices at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Milwaukee and has been a faithful supporter of FHH for many years. We were thrilled to be able to schedule him for a visit along with Pam and internists Dr. Greg VonRoenn and Dr. Dan Tanty. Both Greg and Dan have been here with us many times in the past and they were able to see most of the medical patients so I could be free to keep things running on the surgical side. I had prescreened all the surgical patients and scheduled several cases each day. In the four days they operated, Dr. Battista and Pam did 26 surgical cases. All of the patients did well and were thrilled to be able to get surgery close to their home communities, at a price they could afford.

Some of the patients needed IV sedation, so they were prepared for surgery in our little Emergency Department:

Preparation in ER

Patient in gown with IV in his arm, ready for surgery

Then, they were taken to the Procedure Room, where the surgery was done.

Joe and Pam2

Dr. Battista and wife Pam Schulz made a good operating room team

Pam1

Pam gives a patient IV sedation prior to his hernia surgery

Joe2

Dr. Battista injects local anesthesia prior to operating on a patient

Some of the patients with larger surgeries, such as hernias and hydroceles, needed to rest after their surgery before going home. So, a portable bed in the hallway became our recovery room, where they were able to sleep off the effects of the sedation and get prepared to go back home.

Recovering.jpg

A patient rests on a bed in the hallway after his surgery.

We are very grateful for the assistance of Drs. VonRoenn and Tanty who saw all of the medical patients during the week. This was a huge help to us, especially since they’ve worked with us many times before and knew just how to function in our clinic. It was a great team for a great week.

Staff

Nurse Lourdia Jules, Dr. Battista, pharmacy tech Guy-Johns Chevalier, Pam Schulz, Dr. VonRoenn and Dr. Tanty.

Much thanks to Dr. Battista, Pam Schulz, Dr. Von Roenn, Dr. Tanty and our own staff for a very successful week of doing surgical procedures at our clinic for the first time ever!

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