Currently, International Medical Corps is operational in the North of Haiti. Our main office is in Cap Haitien and we have a sub-office in Fort Liberté, allowing us to work in two of the three departments in the North of Haiti.
June and July 2015 have been very rewarding months for International Medical Corps’ two programs in northern Haiti. First, we are fighting cholera outbreaks, an ongoing problem that first emerged a few months after the 2010 earthquake. According to the World Health Organization, cholera can kill within hours if left untreated, but with proper care the mortality is under 1%. International Medical Corps staff therefore recently trained 90 health professionals on cholera case management. In addition, when a cholera victim is identified, we disinfect homes and provide education for remote affected communities on prevention. As cholera is caused by contaminated water, we reduce its risk by building sanitary infrastructure, including clean water sources, latrines, showers, foot baths and hand-washing stations, as well as building kitchens with clean water in local schools.
International Medical Corps has also repaired and built new cholera beds, and has been advocating for infant cholera beds. These are specifically designed to accommodate the needs of cholera patients. They are typically easy to maintain, promoting hygiene and allowing for ease of access to bed pans. International Medical Corps’ approach to cholera case management is therefore holistic and very well known in the North and North East Departments of Haiti. Fighting cholera in Haiti is as critical as ever as during the first four months of 2015, the number of reported cholera cases was nearly 400% higher than what was reported during the same period in 2014.
We have recently kicked off our new cervical cancer program, one of the few cancers that can be prevented if caught early. International Medical Corps trained and equipped 22 doctors and nurses so they can screen for early cervical cancer by using a low-cost and effective screening technique known as Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA). Women who test positive receive cryotherapy treatment on the spot using the “see and treat” method recommended by the World Health Organization. We have also trained community health workers to educate local women on the benefits of the screening. During the summer of 2015, International Medical Corps will screen 1,800 women in 11 government-supported health facilities and provide the training curriculum to local nursing schools.
International Medical Corps’ critically needed work in the affected communities of Northern Haiti has been possible thanks to the support of GlobalGiving and other donors. It is truly making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.
Five-years after the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, International Medical Corps’ teams are still on the ground delivering vital health care and training services to help disaster-affected communities return to self-reliance.
At the peak of International Medical Corps’ emergency response following the earthquake, our volunteer doctors and nurses saw as many as 1,000 patients a day while simultaneously training Haitian counterparts. We were able to mobilize more than 400 medical volunteers across the United States, including emergency room, intensive care, and pediatric doctors and nurses as well as mental health experts and infectious disease specialists. Within two weeks, we had established 13 primary health clinics in displacement camps and earthquake-affected areas throughout Haiti and provided some 350,000 medical consultations.
In keeping with our mission to promote self-reliance through training, over the past five years International Medical Corps has trained Haitian medical and technical professionals in order to build capacity for the long term, and operated vital programs in nutrition, mental health, water, sanitation and hygiene. We also launched a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program in Haiti. In the fall of 2010, we completed our first CME program with the Haitian Medical Association and brought together Haitian physicians to focus on emergency obstetrics as well as medical certification and board accreditation. We also ran an emergency medicine development program at Port-au-Prince's General Hospital (HUEH) that trained more than 300 Haitian physicians and nurses in nearly every component of emergency care delivery. We are currently implementing additional CME courses in Haiti to improve quality of care throughout the existing healthcare infrastructure.
International Medical Corps was one of the very first organizations to respond to an unprecedented cholera outbreak in October 2010 and had medical staff on the ground in Artibonite (where the first cases developed) even before the cause of the outbreak was confirmed to be cholera. We aggressively rolled out a network of cholera treatment centers (CTCs) and mobile medical units in Haiti’s most remote and affected areas to care for tens of thousands of cholera patients. Because cholera was a new disease in Haiti, the majority of the country’s health workers had never seen it before the outbreak. International Medical Corps made sure that the Ministry of Health and local doctors, nurses, and community health workers remained central to our cholera response. We trained and mentored more than 1,200 doctors, nurses, and community health workers so that our network of CTCs were established and staffed largely by local health professionals. We also distributed more than 765,000 hygiene and sanitation materials and educated more than 2 million Haitians on cholera prevention.
According to the ACAPS Global Emergency Overview Snapshot for 17 December 2014 to 6 January 2015, “Over 500,000 people still have no permanent shelter, living in camps with limited access to clean water. The cholera outbreak that began in October 2010 continues to claim lives, particularly of those most vulnerable: children under five, pregnant women, and the elderly. Haiti’s political and economic situation is extremely fragile, and the country is vulnerable to natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, and droughts. Despite a progressive decrease of cholera cases since January, weekly cases have significantly increased since the rainy season mid-September (PAHO, 02/12/2014).”
International Medical Corps’ local teams are continuing to provide critical medical care in Haiti today. We are responding to cholera in the “Grand North” through community outreach and six mobile medical units that are able to reach vulnerable families. International Medical Corps has also responded to localized flooding in the North and continues to monitor humanitarian needs. It is with the generous support of GlobalGiving and other donors that we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable families and communities in Haiti.
When the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, our First Responders arrived within just 22 hours to deliver emergency medical care. Five years have now passed since large parts of the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding towns and cities were reduced to rubble and over 230,000 Haitians lost their lives. With the help of International Medical Corps, other international relief agencies and the efforts of the Haitian people, many thousands of lives were saved and livelihoods restored. However an unprecedented cholera outbreak and the ongoing threat of hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, continue to threaten already vulnerable communities. Our teams are still on the ground in Haiti today, providing vital health care and training services.
Five-year-old Monley was pulled from the rubble of the Haiti earthquake after being trapped for an astonishing 8 days. As most of the world was losing those final glimmers of hope that survivors of the earthquake in Haiti could still be rescued, Monley’s uncle, Garry, uncovered him from under the collapsed home that had killed Monley’s parents. As Garry rushed into the street with the limp, dirt-covered boy in his arms, International Medical Corps’ Dr. Neil Joyce, was driving by. They put Monley in the car, gave him electrolytes, and rushed him to our doctors and nurses at Hopital de l’Universite d’Etat d’Haiti in downtown Port-au-Prince.
In the days and months that followed, Monley received intravenous fluids and further care from our team to get him back to health – he made an immediate connection with our volunteer nurse Gaby McAdoo. As he regained his strength and slowly returned to normal, we knew we had witnessed a near miracle.
Today, Monley is in very good health and is still being cared for by his Uncle Garry. Nurse Gaby had the pleasure of spending time with Monley in Miami where he was visiting his grandmother over the summer. Although Monley has a lot on his little shoulders, coping with the ordeal of losing his parents and home, he is safe, back in school and growing up with his siblings and cousins in his Uncle Garry’s home in Haiti.
Garry says, "Monley is doing well and he always has good grades at school. He likes to play with his friends. Monley always has nightmares and talking during his sleep. He likes to look at his mom's and dad's photos.”
At the peak of International Medical Corps’ emergency response after the earthquake, our volunteer doctors and nurses saw as many as 1,000 patients a day while simultaneously training Haitian counterparts. Within two weeks, we established 13 primary health clinics in displacement camps and earthquake-affected areas throughout Haiti providing some 350,000 medical consultations. We also mobilized more than 400 medical volunteers across the United States, including emergency room, intensive care, and pediatric doctors and nurses as well as mental health experts and infectious disease specialists. Over the last five years, we trained Haitians in order to build capacity for the long-term and operated vital programs in nutrition, mental health care, water, sanitation and hygiene. In keeping with our mission to promote self-reliance through training, International Medical Corps also launched a Continuing Medical Education program in Haiti. It is with the help of Global Giving and other donors that we are able to assist the vast number of people such as Monley who have been affected by this disaster and will be able to continue doing so in the future.
International Medical Corps will mark its fifth anniversary in Haiti in January of 2015. For much of that time, our efforts were oriented toward the provision of Health care for those suffering from the January 2010 earthquake and then, soon after in October of 2010, for those who became victims of the Cholera epidemic.
Most recently, International Medical Corps has focused on providing services to families in the North and Northeast regions due to the vulnerability of the communities there and the relatively few available health care services. In the last six months, International Medical Corps has treated 213 victims of Cholera, decontaminated 293 latrines, decontaminated 184 homes, and provided awareness messages and water purification tablets to over 351,988 vulnerable citizens. International Medical Corps has carried out these activities through its mobile clinic teams, which are active 24/7 as Cholera outbreaks demand throughout the North and Northeast regions. Our efforts and those of our partners have contributed to an overall reduction in fatalities due to Cholera of 70% over the last year.
To further augment our health care services and provide urgently-needed care to communities in Haiti, International Medical Corps partnered with the California-based nonprofit 'Cure Cervical Cancer' in September and were able to screen 158 women for cervical cancer and treat 27 positive cases with cryotherapy, in addition to training more than a dozen doctors and nurses on the intervention. With funds from Global Giving supporters and other donors, International Medical Corps aims to repeat this training and screening in Haiti health clinics at least four times per year.
International Medical Corps was on the ground in Haiti 22 hours after the devastating January 2010 7.0 earthquake that took over 200,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands more. Tragically, the earthquake was not the only disaster to strike Haiti that year. In late October 2010, cholera broke out in Artibonite, a rural region north of Port-au-Prince. International Medical Corps was one of the very first organizations to respond, and had medical staff on the ground in Artibonite days before the outbreak was even confirmed to be cholera. International Medical Corps’ teams aggressively rolled out a network of cholera treatment centers (CTCs) and mobile medical units in Haiti’s most remote and affected areas, in order to provide care for more than 39,700 cholera patients.
Because cholera was a new disease in Haiti, most of the country’s health workers had no experience identifying or treating the disease before the outbreak. International Medical Corps collaborated with the Ministry of Health, engaging, training and employing ministry staff, as well as, local doctors, nurses, and community health workers, in cholera response and treatment techniques. Overall, International Medical Corps trained and mentored more than 1,200 doctors, nurses, and community health workers. As a result, the network of CTCs were staffed largely by local health professionals and were handed over to the national health system – creating sustainability, building self-reliance and helping to ensure that cholera prevention and treatment would be part of the country’s long-term healthcare infrastructure.
At the height of the outbreak in the South Department, 14% of cholera cases resulted in death. In response, International Medical Corps provided surge support, capacity building and training for local staff in the area’s two largest treatment centers. Just one month later, the fatality rate fell to 2.5%, and two months later, it was less than 1%. This success is largely due to the fact that International Medical Corps trained local health professionals to prevent and treat cholera and then mobilized entire communities - from mayor to mom - in the fight against cholera, reaching over 2 million people with cholera education, awareness and prevention messages.
Since that time, International Medical Corps has continued to build the capacity of local staff and communities to respond to spikes in cholera and prevent cholera from taking hold - including after Hurricane Sandy that wreaked havoc on the country’s fragile infrastructure in October 2012 - and remains one of the few organizations focused on cholera prevention for vulnerable families in the under-resourced northern region of the country.
Over the last year, International Medical Corps responded to an increase in cholera cases that began in June 2013 in the North and North-East Districts. International Medical Corps’ "Cholera Response and Prevention Teams", staffed by local doctors, nurses, and hygiene specialists, visited communities in each district at least once each month, and up to several times a month for the more vulnerable communities. Teams worked directly with health clinics, and spread hygiene and cholera prevention messages to families to thwart the spread of the disease. In total, teams supported 33 ministry facilities; stocked local clinics with rehydration salts, the primary medication used in cholera treatment; provided medication, education, outreach and treatment benefitting 1.5 million people; distributed more than 300,000 water purifying tablets to families; disinfected latrines and households; and distributed additional hygiene items, including soap and detergents. These efforts contributed to a marked decrease in cholera cases; reported cholera cases fell in the first six months of 2014 by 80% in the North Department and 93% in the North-East Department.
International Medical Corps’ cholera treatment and prevention projects have been largely successful, however, cholera is still present in many parts of Haiti. During the hurricane season, when storms can wreak havoc on infrastructure, it remains critical that communities are ready to prepare for increases in cholera cases. Preparation includes the distribution of chlorination tabs; buckets; and water filters, so that families can ensure that their water is clean. The generous support from Global Giving and other donors continues to help International Medical Corps deliver these critical and effective cholera treatment and prevention programs and bring clean water to communities in rural Haiti.
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.
Resource Development Officer