Health Care Need in Haiti
A group of NYC-based nonprofits, working together with two organizations in Haiti, had two clinics up and running in Port-au-Prince within days of the earthquake. Now there are three. Small organizations with existing ties to areas hit by disaster can frequently be nimble and impactful. The goal is to keep these clinics staffed by rotating volunteer medical personnel through April 30, 2010, then make these clinics permanent.
In P-A-P, the Family clinic in the very poor area near Avenue Popelard. The second clinic, focused on HIV+ individuals and their families, is located on Rue Cheriez. Both are open-air clinics, and have basic medications, equipment, and charting supplies. One clinic is next to a building that is still standing, allowing staff to use running water/restroom facilities. The third clinic is in Saint Marc, untouched by the earthquake.
Doctors and nurses are required to staff the clinics. The most valuable specialties currently needed are ER, surgery, pediatrics, and infectious disease. French-speaking mental health professionals can also make a tremendous impact.
Timeline & Commitment
Medical personnel can sign up for any shift through April 2010. By March, when the initial trauma-phase ends, more general medical services will be needed. Shifts are generally scheduled for one and two week increments, not including travel time.
The groups involved are expending their limited resources on direct aid for Haitians, including nutritional support and basic supplies. Volunteers are asked to pay for all personal expenses, including their own plane fare to the Dominican Republic (D.R.), and their food and personal items purchased there. Island transport will be covered.
Looting in Haiti has been over-reported, but it does exist. Supplies and camping are in a contained courtyard, guarded 24-hours a day through a relationship with Haitian authorities.
As of mid February, volunteer staff fly to Santo Domingo and are met by project staffers. They purchase supplies in D.R. and travel in SUV/van to Haiti. Our local drivers pass the border easily, though the trip can require an overnight at a hotel. M/W/F are the preferred arrival days in D.R.
Charles King, Housing Works CEO, is blogging from Haiti here.
If you are a health care professional but cannot go to Haiti, you can volunteer to cover the shift of someone who can. Everyone can donate cash directly to this particular effort by going to www.housingworks.org and clicking on the pink button.
The Haitian National Association of HIV+ People (PHAP+) is the local agency in charge of the AIDS clinic, though it is currently staffed mostly by international volunteers. Haiti's Foundacion Esther Boucicault (FEBS) supervises the Saint Marc clinic. Aid for AIDS is a worldwide leader in distribution of unused and donated medications. Diaspora Community Services serves the Haitian community in NYC, and has run a clinic in Port-au-Prince that serves as one of the bases. Caribbean Women's Health Association is providing medical personnel and fundraising for the effort. Housing Works is NYC's largest AIDS service organization and is coordinating logistics for the clinics.
This article was provided by Housing Works. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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