Healing Art Missions (HAM) is double blessed. First by having Dr. Jean Fritz Jacques as our Haitian Medical Director overseeing all medical related operations and second, because his specialty is general surgery, one of only about 100 general surgeons serving in Haiti. Born in Petit Goave, about 45 miles southwest of Dumay and educated at Faculté de Médecine at L'université d'État d'Haïti (UEH) in Port-au-Prince, Dr. Jacques has worked for HAM since 2008 and became our medical director in 2010. While the Dumay clinic functions as a primary care clinic, Dr. Jacques’ skill set has allowed us to provide minor surgical procedures to the community. Over the past two years, we have been working to upgrade our facilities and equipment in order to expand surgical services.
In 2018 we began remodeling a section of the clinic used for surgeries, adding new partitions and sealed doors and windows to help maintain a sterile field. We also upgraded our solar collection and storage system to be able to support an air-conditioning system we had installed in the surgical room. Air conditioning helps doctors and nurses avoid dripping sweat into the surgical field, as the sealed room can reach temperatures in excess of 90 degrees. This year we have continued the upgrades adding a scrub sink, electrosurgery cautery and suction machines, improved LED surgical lighting, an anesthesia machine, and instruments for general surgery, gynecological surgery and obstetric procedures. These improvements were made possible through generous grants from First Community Church in Columbus.
Dr. Jacques has wasted no time in putting these improvements to good use. In addition to the increased number and variety of surgical procedures we now offer the community, he has also been using the clinic’s surgical facilities and equipment for training medical residents from UEH. Dr. Jacques is a hernia repair expert and a member of HRFU (Hernia Repair for the Underserved), has studied under U.S. based hernia surgeons and has been invited to participate in an annual Hernia Conference in New York City in September 2020.
Expansion of our surgery facilities and capabilities is but one of several programs HAM has improved or added over the past few years in our ongoing efforts to provide resources and funding to rural communities that lack access to basic resources, such as healthcare, education, employment, and clean drinking water.