January 21, 2010
With the blessing of the Haiti Ministry of Health, a coalition of Haitian AIDS organizations, Housing Works and three other New York City AIDS groups have banded together to open two desperately needed clinics for Haitians living with HIV/AIDS Port-au-Prince. At least half of the AIDS clinics in Port-au-Prince were destroyed in the devastating earthquake that shattered the lives of Haitians on January 12.
The New York groups are also banding together to raise funds to reopen a family health center operated by Brooklyn-based Diaspora Community Services in Port-au-Prince that was destroyed in the earthquake. Thousands of families in the neighborhood that the clinic serves require immediate medical attention and support.
Housing Works is calling for volunteer doctors and nurses, donations of medical supplies and cash donations in order to get both clinics up and running. Anyone interested in supporting these critical relief efforts can contact Douglas Sanders at email@example.com or 347-473-7401; cash donations can be made on the Housing Works website at www.housingworks.org. (Cash donations are used to purchase food, water and children's nutritional supplement in the Dominican Republic to avoid shipping costs.)
"I urge everybody to open their hearts to support our efforts to get these clinics open as soon as possible. International relief has been pouring into Haiti, but much of it has been disorganized and chaotic. Most of the relief targets immediate medical trauma and survival needs and will not lead to the sustained support that Haitians desperately need. Hurricane Katrina taught us that marginalized populations, such as people with HIV/AIDS, get overlooked in the wake of natural disasters," said Housing Works President and CEO Charles King.
King added that the need for volunteer doctors and nurses is especially pressing; Housing Works seeks medical professionals with experience in infectious diseases/AIDS, internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine or surgery and pediatrics.
Last week, King and Dr. Vaty Poitevien -- the medical director of Housing Works' 13th St. Health Center who lost her parents in the recent earthquake -- transported more than $40,000 dollars worth of medicine, food, water and other basic supplies for Haitians living with HIV/AIDS. (Read King's moving blog posts).The donations came at the request of PHAP+, a national association of Haitian AIDS groups led by people living with HIV/AIDS. For more than two years, Housing Works has collaborated with PHAP+ member organizations, in particular the Fondation Esther B. Stanislas, a pioneering community-based AIDS organization headed by Esther Boucicault, the current president of PHAP+.
This week, PHAP+ called for a new clinic for Haitians living with HIV/AIDS in central Port-au-Prince and the Haitian Ministry of Health officially endorsed the plan. The Haitian Public Health Association has already donated a structurally sound building. In collaboration with King and Poitevien, PHAP+ established that, conservatively, more than half of the HIV/AIDS clinics in Port-au-Prince were destroyed, and there are almost no AIDS drugs available.
Similarly, most family health clinics have been destroyed, and there is no primary care available for women and children. While the Port-au-Prince family health center sponsored by Brooklyn's Diaspora Community Services was destroyed in the earthquake, a small building on the center property is structurally sound and can be organized to provide services.
Housing Works will establish a structure of logistical support that includes coordination of medical staff and supplies. Housing Works will also solicit donations from funders and its loyal base of supporters in New York City.
Aid for AIDS will coordinate the collection, inventory and packing of medications, particularly antiretrovirals. To contact Aid for AIDS, call or e-mail Aid for AIDS Executive Director Jesus Aguais, at 917-251-4985 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diaspora Community Services will solicit funders to raise money and resume its oversight of its health Center. To contact Diaspora Community Services, call or e-mail Executive Director Carine Jocelyn at 718-207-568 or email@example.com.
Caribbean Women's Community Health Center will use its ties in the Brooklyn Caribbean community, faith-based organizations, and other relationships to raise funds to purchase nutritional and other essential supplies. To contact the Caribbean Women's Community Health Center, call or e-mail Executive Director Cheryl Hall at 347-403-3642 at firstname.lastname@example.org.