We bumped along the road up the hill to Petionville to visit International Medical Corps’ clinic in the J/P tent camp, where about 50,000 Haitians now live since the earthquake destroyed their homes. Their clinic is in one of the largest of such camps in Haiti, and specializes in primary care so they see a lot of cases of skin rashes, coughs, and stomach problems. Another specialized hospital is also in the camp, where they refer more serious medical cases, like cholera.
The temporary shelter that IMC built is divided into a few smaller rooms. On our left, over a dozen patients sat waiting for their check-up. Children smiled and ran up and down the room while their parents waited to be seen by one of the two Haitian doctors working in the clinic. Other medical staff took down the details of the patients waiting to be seen.
We sat down and spoke to Manuchecka Dajeantal, a pregnant woman who was in the IMC clinic for the first time. She came with her husband, who was there to see a doctor about a rash on his neck. She lives near the clinic, and the free care it provides means she can see a doctor about the unusual swelling she’s experiencing in her legs. She says that if the clinic was not there she wouldn’t see a doctor at all.
The doctors at the IMC clinic also keep an eye out for psychological problems that their patients may be facing. Because of the stigma associated with mental health issues, many people don’t seek care for problems like depression or PTSD, which many earthquake survivors are facing. This is one of the few clinics specially equipped to deal with these issues, and mental health care is integrated into the primary care that the doctors are already providing.
After speaking with the doctors, we walked through the tent camp behind the IMC clinic where we met Leonie Joseph, a woman living in the camp with her husband and two children. During the earthquake her house collapsed with everything in it. Luckily her family, which included a three-year-old and a newborn baby, survived. She is now looking for work and hoping to find a way out of the camp and into a home again. She says shelter is her number one need.
Soon it started to rain, and everyone ran back under their tents. We ran to our car and got in as the raindrops got larger. Our car slipped and slid into the mud as we attempted to leave, eventually getting stuck in several inches of mud. Over the next hour and a half the community came together to help us move the car and get to where we needed to go.
Thank you for supporting International Medical Corps’ efforts in Haiti!
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Resource Development Officer