It has been a busy few months at the rehab centre, with the facility being at full capacity of patients solidly for three months. The rehab centre have also benefitted from several international volunteers over the past few months, including a physiotherapist from the UK and two occupational therapists who work for our partner organisation THHT (The Haiti Health Trust). They provided staff with training in relation to stroke patients, including new assessment techniques to test patients’ cognitive abilities. A team from the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation also spent a period of three weeks at the rehab facility, particularly focusing on adapting and fixing wheelchairs with better positioning for all patients, and helping with the physiotherapy for outpatients which can number up to forty in one morning. We are also excited to welcome back Sibille, a physiotherapist from Switzerland who has worked with the rehab centre since the beginning, and who is now living and working in Haiti for a year. We are so grateful to all our supporters, those who are able to come to the hospital and serve our staff and patients in person, but also those who enable them to come and commit to supporting the hospital from afar as without you, we would be unable to continue to change the lives of patients, for example that of Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre, who has been a patient in the rehab centre for the past 16 months after a motor accident rendered him paralysed, is moving into a house mid-December, just in time for Christmas. The staff helped him to find a house in the local area, and have helped with adaptations so it is fully wheelchair accessible. Although we’re sure he’ll be back in the rehab centre for the Christmas party – patients have been making decorations for more than a week, and are looking forward to sharing a meal and music together this week.
On behave of all of our team, and the patients we are privileged to serve, thank you for making 2014 a wonderful year. We hope you will feel encouraged by the difference you have made. May we close by wishing you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
With much love and thanks
All the HHA team
During the summer, our rehabilitation unit received the first patient referral from a new helicopter service that has been launched in Haiti. It was a privilege for our unit to have been chosen and included in this inaugural flight, and something the patients and staff were very excited about! The rehab unit is already being used as a national referral centre, and this new helicopter service will support that further.
We receive patients from all across the country, many who have been left in devastating conditions. One such patient was a man who was referred to us over the summer. Like many persons with disabilities, this man was a forgotten figure. Perhaps a forgotten father, son, friend, husband. It is not uncommon that once someone is left paralysed in Haiti, their family and friends reject them. Whilst many would view this mans life as hopeless, due to his paralysis and a number of other challenges, our team have been working hard to offer him new life. Over the years, we have seen so many lives which were once viewed as 'hopeless', being restored! Whilst this man starts his rehabilitation journey, others almost come to the end of their time with us.
One such individual, was another man who was also referred to us in a terrible state. He was found abandoned on a wooden bench at another hospital, physically weak, and left partially paralysed after being stabbed in a gang fight. Despite being abandoned and left for dead, he is now a new man. His wheelchair and rehabilitation have given him new life, and it's amazing to see him whizz around the hospital with a smile on his face, participating in the many activities available for him.
Whether these patients are at the start or end of their rehabilitation journey with us, they need your support. We hope these two stories will share both the moving reality of disability in Haiti, but also the hope of what can be achieved. Please do continue to support this critical work, and if possible, spread the word so we can get others involved! The end of the year is always a difficult financial period for our disability work, and any additional support would be a real blessing. Thanks for your continued support.
One of the biggest challenges for groups like the Haiti Hospital Appeal, is how to develop programmes in Haiti which can become self-sustainable to some extent. Our vision is to equip and empower a Haitian lead health system, which isn't forever reliant upon international support, and every year we make steady steps towards that goal!
In our last update we shared about some of our patients getting their hands dirty with agriculture projects. Well, in the last few months our rehabilitation team have been busy progressing the agriculture projects, and lot's has happened. The team have completed building the wheelchair accessible flower beds (highlighted in our last report), a chicken farm for 120 chickens, and a banana farm (with over 400 bananas)! The chicken project alone will help save the hospital critical funds, as we produce up to 600 eggs each week to support projects which help persons with disabilities. All the patients will have the opportunity to learn vital life skills as part of these projects, which can empower them to develop their own businesses when they return home.
Aside from agriculture, the rehabilitation unit has also been busy welcoming the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation to Haiti, who have been providing some excellent training for medical professionals across North Haiti, developing Neuro-Urology, which is an exciting new medical development for this region! We also had visitors from the International Tennis Federation, who spent several days introducing wheelchair tennis to our patients, which they absolutely loved!
Despite a busy few months, and some exciting progress towards a greater level of self-sustainability, this rehab unit is still very much reliant upon your support. Persons with disabilities in Haiti remain some of the most marginalised in the whole country, and with limited social support from a government level, assistance from individuals like you is critical. We hope you'll be encouraged by what your generous support has achieved in the last few months, and we look forward to updating you with more exciting news in our next update. Thanks for your continued support!
It's been a great start to the year for our Rehabilitation patients, and we wanted to quickly update you on some of the incredible things that have been happening on the ground!
Last weekend three of our spinal cord injury patients took part in a 10km race around Haiti's second largest city! It was a proud moment for them, as they got the chance to fight against the stigma of disability, and showcase their gifts! Hundreds of people watched them whizz through the city, which was a joy to see!
In the last month we've also started some new agricultural projects for persons with disabilities, with raised flower beds where patients can learn to grow their own food! This is a new and exciting development, which provides another arm to our rehabilitation approach. We seek to do everything we can to equip and empower our patients with the skills they need, so that when they leave our care, they can still generate income and live independently. We'll be developing more farming projects for them in the coming months.
It's not only been our Rehab patients who've been busy though! Our staff have been recieving a whole load of training, from wheelchair maintenance, to stroke management! This week they are also getting ready to partner with Team Canada: Healing Hands for Haiti, to help distribute over 100 children's wheelchairs to kids across North Haiti!
It's all very exciting, and only possible thanks to your support! If you'd like to help us continue this critical work, please take a moment to invest in the project today. Thanks for all your support.
It's not every day a Downton Abbey star visits Haiti, but last month we were privileged to welcome our patron, Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, to HHA's hospital in Haiti.
She had a great time with the rehab patients, and even managed to sneak in a game of wheelchair basketball! The staff and patients were thrilled to see her, as Downton fever hit Haiti. Laura shared about her trip in the Sunday Mirror on her return, and spoke of the great need to continue supporting Haiti:
'Like many people, my first encounter with Haiti was seeing the desperate images of the earthquake in 2010. In recent years the country has fallen down the agenda as, inevitably, other news items come to the fore. Coming to Haiti has challenged me, that like many others I had moved on to quickly from Haiti and the devastating images we saw in 2010.'
Our Rehab unit started after the earthquake, which for many people like Laura, was their first encounter with Haiti. However, whilst the news has moved on, this rehab unit is still supporting many people with old and new spial cord injuries. Patients suffering from complete or partial paralysis, who without our help would often literally be left at home to die. The rehab unit also has an outpatient ward which cares for many children with disabilities. The majority of these children have been left disabled due to be being born at home without any medical support, and this is something Laura is passionate to fight against.
That's why, she recently launched our Christmas campaign - A Royal Birth, which is looking to give mothers and babies a safe birth this Christmas! Whilst it's a little different to the Rehab Unit you've supported, it's a critical part of the hospital and we'd love your involvement. Please take a few minutes to visit our special Christmas website which Laura launched in Haiti - www.aroyalbirth.org and find out how you can give mothers and babies a safe birth this Christmas. Your support can save lives!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.