Charles King Blogs From Haiti
The UN Responds to Calls for Haiti AIDS Strategy, but Activists Are Skeptical
March 2, 2010
There's nothing like a call for a demonstration to get action. Yesterday, following our conversation about making good on the threat Edner made at the last HIV Cluster meeting, he began making calls to enlist support for a demonstration later this week over the lack of a plan from the UN and USAID for caring for people with HIV/AIDS. Within hours, he received a call from a senior in-country advisor to the UN.
"We at the UN and USAID are working on a plan together," she said. "We should have something out soon. Now would not be a good time to have a demonstration."
UN and UNAIDS Must Address Needs of Haitians With HIV/AIDS
March 1, 2010
The disaster in Haiti continues to unfold even as the world's attention begins to shift. Chile suffered a much larger earthquake than Haiti's this weekend that spawned fears of a tsunami throughout the Pacific. Yet there has apparently been far less damage and much less loss of life, as much of Chile has been built in anticipation of such an event.
Meanwhile, the UN and USAID acknowledged this week that they have less than half the tents they need to shelter everyone made homeless by Haiti's January 12 earthquake and the tremblers that followed.
A Slow Recovery in Haiti
February 22, 2010
It has rained twice in Port-au-Prince over the last week. People are soaked, but beyond that, each rain is elevating the health concerns. The rains fill up and overflow latrines. Larger encampments that have been encouraged as an alternative to squatting on rubble and sleeping in the street at night are ripe for transmission of disease. And, of course, fetid pools of water are perfect for malarial mosquitoes to breed, and flies hover over every plate of food.
At our base camp, we are putting in place more vigorous practices around hygiene, but everyone is aware that the risk of disease outbreak grows with each passing day. The only thing that is clear is that there still isn't a coherent strategy on the part of the government, the United Nations and USAID for how to address these growing concerns.
Haiti Progress: St. Marc Clinic Opens, ARVs for Patients Secured
February 16, 2010
There are two large providers of medical care to people living with AIDS/HIV in Haiti. Zanmi Lasante, otherwise known as Partners in Health, founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, operates through the central and border regions of the country. GHESKIO, founded by Dr. Jean Pape in affiliation with Cornell University, operates 28 clinics around the southern areas as well as in Port-au-Prince. These two organizations rightly deserve credit for their pioneering efforts to make ARVs available in Haiti.
Both groups have set up field hospitals and brought in hundreds of volunteers and are managing huge relief efforts. Both are overwhelmed. Establishing on-the-ground relationships with them is critical to our patients and to the success of the clinics.
On Haiti Day of Prayer, Activists Discuss Long-Term Goals for HIV Clinics
February 14, 2010
Thursday afternoon, after many attempts, Edner and I finally met with Dr. Claude Surena, the former Chief of Staff for the Haitian Minister of Health who is currently appointed by the President of Haiti to the job of Chief of the Committee for Health Relief.
"I want to thank you, Mr. King, for all that Housing Works is doing for Haiti," he begins. "But why are you bringing ARVs and antibiotics into the country in suitcases? We have all the medications we need. I have a whole 'depo' fulll of ARVs."
A Frustrating Day in Haiti
January 23, 2010
Yesterday was a frustrating day. By the time we knew we had the money, it was too late to get cash at the bank. My plan was to have it sent by Western Union to Jobanny.
Jobanny spent the morning pricing food. He found a wholesaler in Haina, west of the Capital, cheaper than the one we had used before and had him set $8,000 worth of food, water and other supplies aside. But no wire came. Apparently there was a lack communication at our home office.
People Don't Stop Having Sex Because There Was an Earthquake
January 21, 2010
The e-mail from Edner yesterday morning was very short: "We had a 6.1 earthquake at 6:03 this morning. I was afraid."
We had been e-mailing back and forth yesterday since 5:00 am trying to pin down some promised donations and missing medical personnel. After a quick query to make sure he was all right, we went back to business. (I guess the good thing is that so many buildings have already fallen, it is hard to imagine that a new trembler can do that much more devastation.)
We Are Making This Commitment for the Long Haul
January 20, 2010
Writing on the plane Monday, I felt relieved that my blog assignment had come to an end. Fittingly, my computer had run completely out of battery power and my BlackBerry did the same while waiting in baggage claim. But then I got home to a flood of e-mails and phone calls from people wanting to do a million different things to help. Exhausted as I was, I ended up staying up until after midnight, trying to pull some of the threads of volunteer effort together in a way that makes sense.
See, one thing that frustrated the hell out of me in Port au Prince, was the total lack of organization. Medical providers are going down there with no ties to the community, and then either sitting around frustrated handing out bottles of water at the airport, or playing cowboy.
Photos From Haiti
January 19, 2010
Charles King is back in New York, and will be blogging one more time as a wrap-up. Here are some photos from the experience.
Todos Somos Haitianos Ahora. We Are All Haitians Now.
January 18, 2010
Housing Works President and CEO Charles King, and Housing Works 13th St. Medical Director, Dr. Vaty Poitevien, a Haitian native, spent last weekend in Haiti, delivering $30,000 in medications and supplies to PHAP+, a Haitian coalition of PWA-led organizations. In his fifth blog post from the trip, King reports on his last day in Port-au-Prince:
We stayed at the Diaspora clinic until well after dark on our last evening. By the time we left, we had treated at least 18 people and turned away many others whose needs could wait. Tired but satisfied that we had done something useful, we piled back into the SUV.
The Situation Here Is Clearly Deteriorating
January 17, 2010
Housing Works President and CEO Charles King, and Housing Works Medical Director Vaty Poitevien, a Haitian native, have been in Haiti since Friday to assist PHAP+, a Haitian coalition of PWA-led organizations, in providing desperately needed medical services and supplies to Haitians living with HIVAIDS. King reports to us after his second day in Port au Prince:
About 5 o'clock yesterday evening, Edner and I left the compound where we are storing the supplies in order to to rent a vehicle to distribute them. As I stepped out of the compound, an elderly man with a weathered face grabbed my hand. "You must come with me," he said in Spanish. "I will show you what God has done to us."
Charles King and Dr. Vaty Arrive in Haiti
January 17, 2010
In the wake of the earthquake that hit Haiti this week, Housing Works President and CEO Charles King, and Housing Works Medical Director Vaty Poitevien, a Haitian native, left New York today to go to Haiti and assist PHAP+, a Haitian coalition of PWA-led organizations, to provide desperately needed medical services and supplies to Haitians living with HIVAIDS. King will be blogging as much as possible during the trip. He reports to us from Port au Prince:
On our way out of Santo Domingo, we were joined by Maraceli Guzman, our truck driver, Ambiorix DeJesus's wife. His truck is a 9-year old Daihatsu, well used and with bald tires. Loaded with all the supplies, it wasn't so nimble as we might have hoped.
Stopover in Dominican Republic
January 15, 2010
In the wake of the earthquake that hit Haiti this week, Housing Works President and CEO Charles King, and Housing Works Medical Director Vaty Poitevien, a Haitian native, left New York today to go to Haiti and assist PHAP+, a Haitian coalition of PWA-led organizations, to provide desperately needed medical services and supplies to Haitians living with HIVAIDS. King will be blogging as much as possible during the trip. He reports to us from the Dominican Republic:
Our flight to Santo Domingo was full and uneventful. Over 10% of the passengers were headed to Haiti, mostly rescue workers and news media. On our arrival at the Santo Domingo airport, we were pleasantly surprised to find that all taxes were waved for us and the government had set up an expedited immigration and customs process for all relief personnel, with "Dios bendiga" offered at every turn.
Charles King Blogs From Haiti
January 15, 2010
In the wake of the earthquake that hit Haiti this week, Housing Works President and CEO Charles King, and Housing Works Medical Director Vaty Poitevien, a Haitian native, left New York today to go to Haiti and assist PHAP+, a Haitian coalition of PWA-led organizations, to provide desperately needed medical services and supplies to Haitians living with HIVAIDS. King will be blogging as much as possible during the trip. He reports to us from the airport:
Our trip has gotten off to a sad start. Last night, as we were making final preparations, Dr. Poitevien received a call from her aunt telling her that they believe her mother and father were dead. The house appears to have collapsed on them.
Charles King Blogs From Haiti
Charles King is the president and CEO of Housing Works which has been providing services since 1990 to homeless men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS in New York City and beyond. King is one of a handful of people living with HIV at the head of a major AIDS organization. He cofounded Housing Works with his life partner Keith Cylar. When Cylar passed away in 2004, King took the reins.
Born and raised in a small town in Texas, King attended Yale University's law school and divinity school and was ordained as a Baptist minister by an African-American church in New Haven, Connecticut. He conducts a weekly Bible study course at Housing Works' Keith D. Cylar House, where he lives in a small, book-lined studio. King also leads Housing Works' advocacy department and has been arrested dozens of times.
Subscribe to Charles's Blog:
March 1, 2010 - UN and UNAIDS Must Address Needs of Haitians With HIV/AIDS
February 22, 2010 - A Slow Recovery in Haiti
February 16, 2010 - Haiti Progress: St. Marc Clinic Opens, ARVs for Patients Secured
February 14, 2010 - On Haiti Day of Prayer, Activists Discuss Long-Term Goals for HIV Clinics
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