A 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked southern Haiti on January 12, 2010. One of the hardest hit areas was Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital. The death toll was in the thousands. Additionally, millions of Haitians were left homeless, injured and struggling to survive. This earthquake was said to be the worst natural disaster in Haiti for 200 years.
Since 1994, Medical Teams International (MTI) has been serving in Haiti and is committed to helping to continue to improve the health of its community members.
One location we work in is Centre Medical Beraca, a 78-bed "full service" hospital with very basic Maternity, Pediatric, Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Infectious Disease focus. It is located in La Puente, allowing it to provide care to some of the most marginalized 450,000 people in Haiti. The hospital was founded in 1944 by Missionary Nurse Caroline Bradshaw and has survived through natural disasters, political upheavals and financial hardships, a testament to the dedication, hard work and ingenuity of its staff. In the past few months, we sent three teams to Beraca to provide evaluations and extensive training to more than 80 Haitian healthcare workers.
We have also been running a medical clinic in the Canaan area serving the people who lost their homes in the earthquake and are now living in temporary tents and shelters. We have been able to provide primary health care to 11,968 people, including 3,415 women and 1,380 kids under the age of 5 years in the past year.
Looking ahead, we will continue to mobilize medicines, supplies and volunteer doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Thank you so much for your support!
The overall goal of the Medical Teams International Haiti Advantage Program is to share the love of Christ by empowering persons with physical disabilities to function independently and fully within the immediate community and society of Haiti. The Advantage Program is located in Les Cayes and is the only full-time, comprehensive, professionally staffed program serving persons with disabilities in southwest Haiti.
The Program’s objectives are to increase the physical, emotional and economic capacity of persons with disabilities and advocate alongside them to reduce social stigma and increase their knowledge regarding abilities and legal rights. Currently, the Advantage Program serves beneficiaries through rehabilitation consultation and intervention, self-advocacy training, educational empowerment and economic programs.
Rehabilitation Consultation and Intervention. The rehabilitation clinic and prosthetic/orthotics workshop are central to the Advantage Program. Clinic services include evaluation, examination, diagnostic, prognostic and intervention strategies for the physical and psychological care of patients. Custom artificial limbs and braces are made in the workshop and patients are trained in their use. Our staff provides therapeutic intervention and training for patients and families in how to continue care at home and staff members visit patients in their homes as much as possible to assist with practical problem solving. Staff also provides patients with mobility aides such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, walkers, and crutches and training in their use. Patients receive care from expatriate and non-national staff, national trainees and rehabilitation volunteers. Staff members provide ongoing instruction to Haitian technicians through seminars and on-the-job training during day-to-day clinical care. Technicians perform delegated tasks, such as adjustment of assistive devices and wheelchairs and simple mobilization of patients.&
Self-Advocacy Training & Outreach. As part of the holistic approach to serving persons with disabilities, personnel providing rehabilitation services assess each patient’s psychological response to the disability. Patients with limb loss participate in peer counseling as needed, and clinic staff and volunteers provide psychosocial support and instruction to caregivers. To reduce the social stigma, we assist persons with disability to increase their understanding of their own abilities and rights and to advocate for themselves. Through the advocacy program, training is provided to churches, schools and the media. Self-advocacy among people with disabilities is critical to the success of the program, as a person with a disability best understands the daily challenges and can most effectively identify and communicate needs and solutions.
School Sponsorship & Economic Programs. In Haiti, disparity between people with disabilities and those without disabilities is especially evident beyond elementary school. It is extremely challenging for people with disabilities to attain a high school level education due to financial, social, and architectural/accessibility barriers. Vocational training is limited for persons with disabilities due to a lack of vocational training in general and due to social stigmas against disabled persons. The Advantage Program provide educational empowerment by assisting with school fees for program members who are able to attend a regular school, thereby assisting persons with disability to develop the knowledge and skills to participate in general society. Integrated education is a key to affecting societal attitudinal changes toward persons with disabilities In addition, program participants are able to receive micro-loans for small businesses to enable them to become more active participants in their communities and to empower them to gain control over resources available to them.
Since the 2010 earthquake, the Advantage Program has employed two non-national International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics Certified Practitioner-Category II (ISPO-CPO-II) level practitioners. The practitioners, graduates of University of Don Bosco in El Salvador, provide direct patient care in fabricating custom artificial limbs and braces using appropriate thermoplastic technology considered to be “sustainable” in Haiti. These methods are best for Haiti because of the low cost, availability and durable nature of materials and the minimal need for highly technical machinery for fabrication. The ISPO-CPO-II practitioners and volunteers are providing on-the-job training for a prosthetic/orthotics technician in the Advantage Prosthetics/Orthotics shop. The trainee has been accepted into a University of Don Bosco-El Salvador training program scheduled to be taught in Haiti on a modular basis in early 2012. This trainee will continue to work with the Advantage Program during training and after graduation as an ISPO-CPO-II practitioner. Our desire is to promote the training of many Haitians as rehabilitation providers to eventually reduce the dependency on expatriates for providing the essential rehabilitation therapy services.
The Internally Displaced Peoples’ Camp (IDP) of Canaan is an IDP camp about an hour north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where approximately 90,000 people have resettled after the 2011 earthquake. The clinic is managed by Medical Teams International Haitian staff nurses and is offered supplimental support by visiting US-based volunteer physicians and nurses. The nurses provide consultations, exams, medications and health training to the population living in Canaan on a daily basis. We support the Canaan IDP Community by:
See images of the camp and meet some of the people we help at http://www.medicalteams.org/sf/about_us/media_center/videos/Our_work_in_Haiti.aspx.
Medical Teams International plans to send 41 medical teams to Haiti from July 2011 through June 2012 to support our work with Haiti Advantage, the Beraca Hospital, the Canaan Clinic and the work of our partner, Haiti Foundation of Hope.Haiti Advantage ProgramEffective July 2010, Medical Teams International has taken responsibility for oversight and funding of the Haiti Advantage program. Since 2001, Haiti Advantage has been providing assistance to persons with disabling conditions in Haiti. In August 2009, our Prosthetics/Orthotics facility was chosen as one of the premiere clinics in the country. For more information, please see our Haiti Advantage page.Centre Medical Beraca & La Coma Medical OutpostThe projects at Centre Medical Beraca, is a 78-bed "full service" hospital with very basic Maternity, Pediatric, Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Infectious Disease focus. It is located in La Puente, allowing it to serve some of the most marginalized 450,000 people in Haiti. The hospital was founded in 1944 by Missionary Nurse Caroline Bradshaw and has survived through natural disasters, political upheavals and financial hardships, a testament to the dedication, hard work and ingenuity of its staff.The La Coma Medical Outpost is a clinic that is two hours away by motor vehicle from the hospital. Few from this remote region can access the hospital. This unit provides basic primary care, an HIV and AIDS program, growth charting and emergency supplemental nutrition for severly malnourished children. The hospital and clinic’s mission is to serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the communities.Medical Teams International is supporting the hospital by:
Medical Teams International will also provide financial support to our partner Haiti Foundation of Hope. With that funding, the organization will:
Canaan Medical ClinicThe Internally Displaced Peoples’ Camp (IDP) of Canaan is an IDP camp about an hour north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where approximately 90,000 people have resettled after the 2011 earthquake. The clinic is managed by Medical Teams International Haitian staff nurses and is offered supplimental support by visiting US-based volunteer physicians and nurses. The nurses provide consultations, exams, medications and health training to the population living in Canaan on a daily basis. We support the Canaan IDP Community by:
Our Plans for Continued AidMedical Teams International continues to provide hospital care with surgical capacity, establish support to local health centers and operate mobile medical units to aid in the transition from relief to rehabilitation. Through its new local office in Port-au-Prince, Medical Teams International is working to meet immediate to medium-term orthopedic and medical care needs and help re-establish a functioning health care system.
Since the January 12 earthquake, Medical Teams International has sent 74 medical teams with more than 250 doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. We plans to mobilized additional medical brigades and funding to Haiti this year to support the Community Health work of our partner Haiti Foundation of Hope in Terra Blanche. We have established a field office in Haiti to assist transition from the relief phase to recovery and hope that the work we provide can continue to better the situation in Haiti.
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