Health
 Haiti
Project #4583

Haiti Rehabilitation Centre

by Hope Health Action
Vetted

One of the frustrations the rehab staff face is how to give long-term patients an independent and sustainable life once they finally leave the hospital. They can treat the medical problems, they can build confidence and they can teach new skills. But when a patient is discharged to a community with very few jobs for able bodied people, let alone those with disabilities, it can seem like a uphill struggle.

But total rehabilitation remains our goal and that's what we aim for with every patient. This includes helping them with housing and work. When a patient, who has been in the hospital for many years, leaves and flourishes it is a joyful feeling for everyone involved.

Herode is an example of really positive progress and how the programme we have in place can give rehab patients their lives back.

Herode was a patient for 5 years, having been admitted after a stab wound left him partially paralysed. He has no family and took a long time to come to terms with his situation. He had very low self-esteem and his outlook was concerning. Finding a positive outcome for patients with no other support can be particularly challenging so the progress Herode has made is truely remarkable.

Recently Herode left the hospital to live independently nearby. Showing how far his confidence has come, he then approached the hospital and secured a permanent job looking after the new toilet/shower block at the rehabilitation unit where he had been a patient. 

This kind of outcome shows what can be achieved with a holistic approach to rehab. HHA thanks you so much for your support of this project. 

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Boulevard du Cap-Hatian
Boulevard du Cap-Hatian

During the summer, we had a group of volunteers that worked at the rehabilitation centre for 3 weeks. As a treat for the patients and staff, an evening out in town was planned. Rehab patients are usually very isolated, and are not able to leave the rehab facility due to lack of transportation, financial resources and the need for carers to help them get around town. This was a rare opportunity for a change of scene. 

Everyone was excited and dressed in their nicest clothes. We loaded a taptap (a haitian taxi) and a car with 6 patients and some of our staff and took off to town. It was great to see the change in the faces of the patients when they went out for the first time after being in a hospital for so long.

We went to a Haitian restaurant by the side of the ocean, on the boulevard of Cap Haitien, a popular spot in the evenings. It was by chance that a group of “troubadours”, traditional Haitian musicians with drums and rattles, came by and started playing for us. Anyone knowing Haitian culture knows that music and singing is irresistable making everyone participate. It was great to see people with and without disabilities mixing together all dancing and singing!

After dinner we decided to stroll along the boulevard to get some ice cream. We clearly attracted quite a few looks, but the acceptance from everyone we saw was great to see.

We try to enrich the lives of all patients by making trips like this possible. And through them we keep trying to show that we are all equal and disability is not inability!

Your support not only helps us deliver the medical care these people need, but also provide these little extras which can help with emotional rehabilitation. Thank you so much.

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Disability rehabilitation isn't just about treating the physical conditions. Patients face a totally different life with huge new challenges. In Haiti, these challenges are enournous with many having to face them with no support.

It is well known amoung those who work in disability rehabilitation, that after sustaining a high spinal cord Injury, including impairment of the upper limbs, work is usually limited office/computer work as other physical labor is no longer possible. In Haiti, this puts our patients into an even more difficult situation, as this kind of work is mostly limited to people who have a good level of education.


During their time at our rehabilitation unit, we teach patients basic IT skills, in order for them to then later use these in any kind of business when they move back home.


Last week we had a volunteer group from the US visit us for two days. One of them was an IT specialist that took two days to teach one of our tetraplegic patients how to use a laptop. Basic Microsoft Office skills and some music programs were his priority. When he returns home, he wants to use the laptop he’s been given to build up a copy and printing business.


One of his greatest passions has always been music, a very big part of Haitian culture. He loves to sing and now knows how to compose songs on his new laptop. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll be one of Haiti’s great artists?

Your support allows us to deliver the level of rehabiliation where patients eventually go home with new life ahead of them. Thank you.

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Eddy - paraplegic patient
Eddy - paraplegic patient

Partnership working in Haiti is critical to development and improvement in health care provision. We have always tried to work with both local and international partners and we've seen amazing success through this approach. However when working in disability rehabilitation some situations highlight the fact that rehab care has only been practiced in Haiti for a few years and expert knowledge in this field is scarce.

A recent example of this is when Eddy, a long term paraplegic patient at our rehab unit, broke his leg while trying to exercise. We took Eddy to Milot, another hospital in the north, to see their orthopaedic team and have an x-ray (something not yet possible at our hospital). Paraplegic patients can't be treated with the same techniques as able bodied people due to the significant risk of developing new pressure sores when in a cast. But Eddy returned to our unit with in a full leg cast from hip to toe - not a suitable solution for him.

This was not due to laziness of negligence, but a symptom of the lack of knowledge about this type of specialist care in Haiti. It highlights how important the unit you have supported is to disabled people all over Haiti who come to our hospital to receive expert treatment and rehabilitation. It is also vital that specialist knowledge continues to be shared across all local partners to improve the standard of care across the country.

After further consultation on Eddy's case, the decision was made to remove the cast and treat his leg using a different type of brace. His healing will be monitored with a follow-up x-ray and our staff will provide some training for the medical team at Milot so they are better equipped to handle similar cases in the future. Partnership working in action!

Thank you for supporting our project.

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Child in adapted wheelchair
Child in adapted wheelchair

Getting wheelchairs to Haiti is always a challenge. Most chairs available in developed countries are not very suitable for a country with plenty of bad roads, heat, humidity, dirt and rain. So we partner with the Walkabout Foundation, who has been sending wheelchairs to Haiti since the earthquake in 2010. They construct chairs that are more adapted to the needs of wheelchairs in a country like Haiti. They are a real blessing to us at the Rehab Unit but more importantly the patients who gain new independance and mobility from these special chairs.

For the first time now, we are receiving a shipment of 200 wheelchairs directly into Cap-Haitien, only 30 minutes from the hospital! This is very exciting for us as we have always had to get our chairs in Port-au-Prince, a long drive and expensive journey to get the few chairs we usually received, up to the North.

The need for wheelchairs is high, especially at our clinic as we are the only rehab facility in the North of Haiti. We have people coming to see us from all over the Cap-Haitien region. As soon as the the chairs arrive at our hospital, we will be calling our waiting list of patients to come and finally pick up their much needed wheelchair. We cannot wait to see a lot of smiling, happy faces! 

When you support the Rehab facility, you are not only providing specialist medical care but a long term committment to improve the lives of the people we see. The wheelchairs are a key tool in rebuilding lives but, as you've read about in pther reports, our work spans all parts of the patients lives from housing to jobs and beyond. Thank you for being part of this amazing project.

Unloading the container
Unloading the container

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Organization Information

Hope Health Action

Location: West Wickham, Kent - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.hopehealthaction.org
Project Leader:
Barry Mann
Volunteer
Bromley, United Kingdom
$2,113 raised of $40,000 goal
 
48 donations
$37,887 to go
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