Google+ WTN Haiti Partnership: October 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Getting ready for November trip

Well, its 4 AM and here I am at the computer blogging about Haiti.  Must be getting close to another trip.  This is a time where I start waking up in the middle of the night, excited about going and worrying about "things left undone".  My husband asked me yesterday, what I was worried about, since I have ordered our medical supplies, our team has their airline tickets arranged, and all we have to do now is wait for November 28.  Easy for him to say!

We have a group of 15 nurses going to Haiti from CBU, they leave Nov 2.  Their leader is the amazing Dr Evelyn Sue Trzynka, "Sue" to most of us.  She and I have been exchanging emails like crazy.  I recognize in her the same "OMG I AM LEAVING FOR HAITI IN 10...9...8...7 DAYS" panic mode that I  experience before a trip.  The desire to take everything you can possibly stuff into your suitcase, to give to the children of St Vincent's.  The worry about making connections in Miami (BOY I HATE THAT AIRPORT!)  The worry about making everything work out when we get there, the clinic, the pharmacy, the "fun activities" planned for the children....  Will all our bags arrive in Port au Prince? Will we have enough interpreters? (you can never have enough interpreters) Will  Pere Sadoni be there to meet us at the airport? (he always is)
Will we be able to see all the children in clinic?

This will be Dr Sue's second trip to St Vincent's, and when I lead the team in November it will be my 10th trip to Haiti.  I don't think the anxiety lessens, I just worry about different things.  I no longer worry about safety of the team (we are very protected by our Haitian friends and very careful about staying within the walls of the school or the guest house).  I also don't worry about being useful.  I used to fret that the big American teams were more trouble to the priest, Pere Sadoni, than we were worth.  I finally decided that God has blessed me with this opportunity to go to Haiti over and over, and take lots of other people to learn about this wonderful school, this "Cathedral for Children" as Deacon Drew calls it.

Susan Nelson

National Haitian American Health Alliance

Below is a summary from the 9th annual conference, held Oct 18-19 in Washington DC.  What struck me was the information about HIV:

HIV/AIDS was held as a success story in Haiti. It was announced that the rate in Haiti has been reduced to 1.9%. It was said that the infrastructure in HIV was instrumental in managing the cholera outbreak. There is a lot of progress reported in preventing and treating Cholera. The good news is that there is a timeline with important milestones for the eventual elimination of cholera in Haiti.

You can read the entire summary if you wish, included below.

National Haitian American Health Alliance(NHAHA)

Thank you to all those who participated in NHAHA’s 9th Annual conference in Washington DC. The conference was rich in content and great discussion. We were honored with the presence of Dr. Guirlene Raymond , Director General from the Ministry of Health (MSPP). The challenges are enormous but there has been a lot of effort towards the rebuilding of the Haiti health system’s infrastructure. The country is currently finalizing their 10-year plan and entering the Action plan phase. Notable strategies include the alignment of NGO’s into the plan, the restructuration and building of medical facilities throughout the country. Human resources and system strengthening will continue to be areas for continued need.
The conference facilitated cross fertilization of ideas from major stakeholders in Haitian Health. Dr. Eddis Charlotte, Coordinator of the Haiti Health Reconstruction for
U.S. Government provided the update and progress for the US government. She emphasized the commitment of the US government to accompany the Ministry of Health in its efforts as the leader of the system. The conference allowed different point of views. Dr. Marc Weisbrot leveled some criticism of the US government for their handling of the reconstruction and the cholera outbreak. He advocated for the US reparation to cholera victims and the rebuilding of the water, sanitation infrastructure in Haiti.
The case for water of sanitation as the first public health necessity for Haiti permeated throughout the conference. The role of food and nutrition was also emphasized, by Dr. June Pierre-Louis. Solving these basic needs will go far in preventing many health problems we see today and put Haiti on the road for the 21st century.
The need for research in Haitian health was well demonstrated by Dr. Linda Marc. There is a burgeoning development for great collaborative research work in Haitian health. She gave an overview NHAHA’s work and past and current work in HIV/AIDS and Mental Health that have been undertaken by Haitian researchers such as herself and provided a vision for new efforts in that area.
One of the most critical policy issues for Haiti health care was brought forth by Dr. Jesse Bump who presented us with the options for Universal health coverage. He provided an analysis of other countries and urges us to look into the Rwanda system as an example for Haiti. The message is that for Haiti, it will cost billions of dollars and requires the commitment of the leaders and contribution from the government and citizens to make it work. It can happen if as a whole the citizenry demands it.
The disparity in Haitian Health in the US was introduced by Dr. Paul Cadet, president of the Haitian Physicians Abroad. The root causes for health disparities in the US was analyzed by Dr. Vigilance. It showed the connection between social determinants and health of minorities. Dr. Fabienne Santel underscored the need to have minority groups represented in clinical trials. Dr. Patrick Richard, Health Economist made the case for health equity by showing the high cost of health disparities in the US. Mental Health emerged as an area of important need. Dr. Nicky Bellamy spoke on SAMHSA’s response after the earthquake which funded three programs in New York, Boston and Florida. Dr. Naturale specifically spoke on importance of a system in place for meeting the mental health need of children and women.
HIV/AIDS was held as a success story in Haiti. It was announced that the rate in Haiti has been reduced to 1.9%. It was said that the infrastructure in HIV was instrumental in managing the cholera outbreak. There is a lot of progress reported in preventing and treating Cholera. The good news is that there is a timeline with important milestones for the eventual elimination of cholera in Haiti.
Dr. Patrick Von Fricken talked about the work being done in Malaria control in Gressier and showed the picture of a testing lab that improves the identification and treatment of the disease.
The conference highlighted a great deal of NGO’s such as I-TECH in capacity building in support of MSPP. Dr. Rachel Labbe-Coq presented on an initiative for strengthening two of the hospitals in the country. Dr. Judy Art was applauded for his implementation of and inexpensive, easy Electronic Medical Records system at his clinic in Petite Riviere. He is able to remotely follow the clinic operation in real time while at the conference. Dr. Chierci shared an innovative approach of community health approach in “Au Borgne” in the mountainside in the North of Haiti. The program called: “Sante Nan Lakou” use the method of providing services to clusters of families living in their homes connected around a yard. It gave all of us a pause when the picture of the mobile clinic came up on the screen. It was a donkey climbing the mountain carrying medical supply.
The conference ended with Dr. Carmelle Belle-Fleur with the role of Nurses and an overview with a project with Hunter College for training Haitian Nurses in partnership with the school of Nursing in Haiti. Dr. Flore Lindor-Latortue from Florida, gave a motivating and captivating talk on the rights of Haitians for health equality. The last presentation by Dr. Marjorie Brennan brought all of us back to the Humanitarian reason for medical missions in Haiti but reminded us on how to do it effectively and respectfully.
Some major concerns on Housing, economic development, education as related to health were also raised.
We were hosted by Mr. Paul Altidor at the Haitian embassy at a closing reception. His address accentuated the recurring themes of the conference and the principles enunciated by MSPP that included sustainability, accountability, transparency, coordination and collaboration.
The year 2013 will be NHAHA’s 10th year anniversary. NHAHA’s goal continues to be a locus of information, a platform for exchanges, a voice for health equity policies and a bridge for the Haitian diaspora to contribute to the efforts in Haiti.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Note on Hurricane Sandy from Bishop Duracin of Haiti

This is to inform my Brothers and Sisters in the house of Bishops that even though the hurricane Sandy did not pass directly on Haiti, many damages have been done because of the heavy rains and winds it has projected all over the country. According to the government's assessment of the situation, as of this morning about 16 people are dead. Many people are being affected by this hurricane because of their living situation; as you may know due to the earthquake of January 12th 2010, a lot of people are still living in tents in a lot of places, and some others live in areas that are near the water. 

Damages are being registered all over the country and people are evacuating their houses to go to safer places. According to reports received from our priests, people of all of our congregations have been affected. There is a situation of lack of food, clean water, medicine, added to the situation of people which have been already fragile because many families have been confronting with their problems of sending their kids to school, and now I have just learned that many school supplies that have already been in possession of our kids have been swept away by the raging waters entering school facilities and families homes. So we need your prayers and support.

Hope this finds all of you well, I send you greetings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Rt. Rev. J. Zaché Duracin
Bishop of Haiti

This message was sent through the Bishops and spouses email network via Bishop Sandy Hampton and forwarded to us by Jeannie Johnson, wife of Bishop Don Johnson of West TN.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


 Several months ago we asked for donations of crocs to take to our kids at St Vincent's.  One of our St Mary's parishioners, Cathie Pruitt, helped coordinate a HUGE donation from Chung Shi of cases and cases of "Dux", which are similar to crocs.  Pictured are Drew Woodruff with Ramelle Wheeler, seated on the chancel steps at St Mary's.  Ramelle is a nursing student from CBU, and went to Haiti with our team in March 2012.  She tells the story of handing out crocs to the teenagers, and having none big enough for the older teenage boys.  She promised Ricardo, one of the St Vincent's students, that she would bring him a pair of crocs big enough for his size 10 feet!  Now Ricardo will have many colors to choose from.  The only problem remains getting all those shoes to Haiti, but with another 15 nurses returning to St Vincent's during the first week of November, that's a lot of suitcases! 
Many thanks to the donors for making this generous donation  Many children will be happy to get a brand new pair of shoes especially suited for the dusty streets of Port au Prince.

An Update on Haiti | Society of Saint Margaret

Read this update by Sister Marjorie (pictured far right in the photo) about her visit to Haiti and about the ordination of Haiti's new Suffragan Bishop, Pere Oge Beauvoir. Click on the link below the photo.

Bishop Oge Beauvoir with the Sisters