MEDICAL TRIP SPRING 2011
In March 2011, we conducted FHHH’s most extensive and productive medical trip thus far. We had medical clinics in 3 underserved areas in Haiti; L’asile, Carries, and L’Ile a Vache. L’asile is a small town in the southwest region of Haiti. Its population is 32,000. Most live in humble thatched or tin roof homes without running water or electricity. here is a small hospital to serve the area as well as a couple of primary care clinics. L’ile A Vache is an island off the southern town of Les Cayes and is inhabited by 14,000 people with the nearest hospital a 20-30 minute boat ride away. The economy of L’asile and L’Ile A Vache is based on agriculture. Carries is located in the northeast section of Haiti about 1 hour from the capital and has a population of about 12,000. The nearest hospital is 1 hour away. We had 4 doctors, 1 or 2 nurses, and 5 volunteers support staff at each of our medical clinics. We saw nearly 2000 during 5 clinic days at those 3 sites.
Haiti’s Healthcare System– It is estimated that there are 1998 doctors and 834 nurses/ midwives in the whole country. The existing personnel are unevenly distributed throughout the country.
90% of the doctors in Haiti are in the capital. It is estimated that in rural areas there is 1 doctor per 50,000 persons.
Dr. Emmanuel St.Louis, Dr. Yolaine St.Louis, Dr. Lesly Honore, members of FHHH, a volunteer, Dr. Preetha Lyengar, and Kathy St.Louis our secretary made the 4 hour drive to L’Asile. Working with a local nurse, they saw nearly 400 men, women and children and had to add a half a day clinic to accommodate the many who had waited for hours to be seen. They saw a variety of ailments. All patients received free medications, vitamins, and toiletries. 90% of the doctors in Haiti are in the capital. It is estimated that in rural areas there is 1 doctor per 50,000 persons. The next day our group traveled to Carries; 2 other FHHH members, Christine and Frantz Mevs, joined them. This clinic was organized by Lynotte Joseph, our Haiti liaison. AmeriCares and CMMB donated medications. Knowing how prevalent anemia and undernutrition are in the area, our group brought vitamins and supplements especially for the children and women. The very busy clinic day was productive and rewarding. Dr. Thierry Duchatellier, his wife Fatima and their 2 children joined us in L’Ile a Vache. After a scenic drive to the southern part of Haiti, we boarded a boat for the beautiful island of L’ile a Vache. Josiane Czaykowsky, a FHH member and her husband Elie who own a home on the island had arranged for what turned out to be our busiest clinic.
At L’ile a Vache, the doctors saw 500 to 600 patients per day. Locals and a volunteer from PAP, Yamilee St.louis, registered patients; they were triaged by two nurses. Volunteers manned the wellstocked pharmacy, organized the lines, and assisted the doctors or patients. The children helped distribute donated clothes. They saw a variety of ailments, medical and surgical, acute and chronic. The number of patients willing to wait for hours to be seen is a testament to the need for FHHH to proceed with its plan to build permanent primary care clinics in those areas.