On January 7, 2011, Britt Lake and I visited one of GHESKIO’s seventeen Haitian locations in Port au Prince in order to introduce ourselves and GlobalGiving in person and get a better feel for their work. As soon as we pulled into their property, it was obvious what a well-run facility they operate. From the multi-level security to the comfortable and clean executive/administrative offices, we were clearly in a professional environment. And when we were kindly given a tour by Sylvie Jadotte, during which we learned about their various specialties and services, their work only became more impressive. For patient privacy and confidentiality purposes, we were not able to take photos of patients or beneficiaries, but I can assure you they were there and seemed to be thriving. We saw the impressive physical rehabilitation equipment for post-earthquake surgery patients, the teen center and family planning section, the nutrition room and electronic library patients are given access to, the HIV treatment area, the mother and child wellness center, and the professional intake and assessment area.
Not only has GHESKIO been operating these high-end medical services since 1982 with the support and partnership of organizations like Cornell University and NIH, but they have adapted their services since the earthquake due to the changing community needs as well. They now run a 7,000-person IDP camp (tent city) near their facilities, for which they provide healthcare services, and for which they’ve secured clean water with the help of the Spanish Red Cross and bathrooms with the help of UNICEF. And they’ve started a school that serves two-hundred children from the camp. In addition, they will soon be opening a vocational school with seven skill set areas, which will open in the next few months – we saw the rooms being constructed during our visit.
GHESKIO has clearly found a way to help local Haitians by providing free healthcare in conjunction with other NGOs as is necessary, and they seem able and willing to adapt to the growing and changing needs of their beneficiaries successfully.
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