Remote Area Medical® (RAM) returned to Haiti on September 12, 2019 for another successful expedition despite numerous obstacles. RAM staff and volunteers made the difficult trek to Hinche after overcoming flight delays, lost luggage, illness, and a ground transportation fuel shortage. Along the way, they encountered vehicles that had succumbed to the treacherous mountainside terrain.
The RAM team managed to reach the God’s Planet for Haiti School safely, but the difficulty did not end with their arrival. They had to make repairs on the dental units to get them operational. They were forced provide services using only half of their planned allotment of autoclaves, a device used in the sterilization of medical instruments. Miraculously, RAM staff and volunteers were able to provide ongoing dental and medical care for the students and families of the God’s Planet for Haiti School during their weeklong trip.
The trip identified a number of needs:
Support from donors like you for these items and to fund this critical initiative are urgently needed.
Remote Area Medical is all packed and ready to return to Haiti this month, where they hope to determine the need for vision services in addition to continuing to serve some of the nation’s most isolated villages. Volunteers and staff loaded supplies for the trip on a cargo plane last week and are set to leave Wednesday for the second of RAM’s biannual trips to the Caribbean nation.
In addition to providing ongoing dental and medical care for the students and families of the God’s Planet for Haiti School, RAM will be using a spot screener for the first time. This field ready autorefractor is the first step in RAM’s plan to expand services in the mountains of Hinche.
“It takes a baseline reading of your eyes,” RAM Senior Clinic Coordinator Poppy Green said of the spot screener. The device is also useful in the early detection of glaucoma and cataracts. “We are collecting a bunch of preliminary data on this trip. With that information, we’ll be better able to gauge the need for vision care.”
RAM staff and volunteers will make the difficult trek to Hinche and then spend their next two days at the school providing care to approximately 90 students and their families. This particular trip will also include the delivery of much-needed school supplies as well as a community meet and greet where lunch will be provided. Dental and medical services will then be made available to the rest of the community.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Haiti has the highest incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the Western Hemisphere. Persistent outbreaks of cholera and an ongoing effort to reduce HIV cases are additional factors that often take attention away from oral and vision health. This could have disastrous effects in a nation that has a population of more than 11 million, but precious few dental professionals.
Remote Area Medical staff and volunteers are gearing up for another trip to Haiti where they will again deliver much-needed medical and dental care to people in need. RAM remains committed to this region and will for the first time be adding vision care to its repertoire of services available to Haitians.
“We’re proud that this will be the first time we’re offering full vision services in Haiti,” said Poppy Green, RAM’s senior clinic coordinator. “The team will fly into Port au Prince. Then we’re traveling four and a half, five hours up into the mountains of Hinche. It’s quite the trek up there,” Green said.
RAM’s biannual trips to Haiti provide these isolated villages with access to medical professionals who can provide continuing care as well as address acute issues.
“In a sense, we’ve become their primary care. The beauty of what we’re doing now with these scheduled operations going there twice a year, we’re able to see a lot of the same people as well as address acute needs,” Green said.
Green and the rest of the RAM team head to Haiti in early September and hope to serve 1,000 patients during their stay. Your support of the Remote Area Medical Haiti program makes all of it possible.
RAM crews returned to Haiti in January to once again provide free dental and medical care to people in need. Twenty volunteers, ranging from dentists and doctors to nurses and general support, helped RAM provide $153,093 worth of free servces to 878 people, including 218 school children!
Millions of people in Haiti lack access to affordable health care, housing, education, and stable employment. Even more lack access to routine dental care as there are only 300 dentists in the entire country. Because of these factors, coupled with the fact that Haiti is also prone to severe natural disasters, many people are left with few choices when it comes to accessing even the most basic of health and dental care. For many people, this ultimately leads to pain, suffering, and early death.
To combat these issues and help people there improve their overall health, RAM deploys teams of volunteers to Haiti twice per year. RAM currently expects to return to carribean country in September 2019 to once again provide care to hundreds.
RAM still hopes to raise enough funds to build a permanent on-site facility for lodging and medical/dental supply storage.
Final numbers are in from our most recent medical expedition in Haiti! One-thousand and fifty-seven people received more than $195,000 worth of free dental and medical services between September 18-26, 2018. We aren't done, though! For the past several weeks, RAM volunteers have been gathering and organizing supplies for our next expedition to Haiti, which takes place in January 2019. These supplies were just shipped last week and the clinic dates have been set for January 3-9. The team will again be traveling to Port-au-Prince and Hinche to provide dental and medical services to people in desperate need of care. RAM expects to serve upwards of 1,000 or more people during this upcoming expedition.
RAM still hopes to raise funds to build a permanent on-site facility for lodging and medical/dental supply storage.
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