HAM's Dr. Jacques' perspective of the February Crisis in Haiti

I have seen many political troubles in Haiti, but I think this February crisis was the worse. During this crisis we could not go out, even if you were sick, even if you wanted to deliver a baby, even for funerals.  Most hospitals had to close because staff and patients could not be there, while others were out of supplies. Remember that most of supplies we need to run clinics, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies are in the town of Port-au-Prince where unfortunately all the businesses including the Haitian Government offices were closed. Simply put, “HAITI WAS LOCKED!”

I personally am related to 2 victims of violence during the lock down.  A male cousin was shot and died, and a female cousin was shot and is fortunately alive. She was part of a group of 17 people who were shot in Petit Goave.  

For the first time I spent 10 consecutive days at home working on the computer and doing online home work with my children, who could not go to school. Their school sent online work home by google Classroom. To me, it was like a prison because I could not do the work I am used to doing on a daily basic, and we had no Idea when the crisis would stop.

But we did a lot of work on the clinic payroll and small fees schedules and we were able to communicate with the local clinic staff and the USA HAM directors. 

It is important to mention that the clinic was opened with some of the closest local staff and some patients, less than 15 a day, were seen by our head nurse.  Two deliveries were done by our midwives, and clean water was given freely to the community, who’s members could not go leave Dumay to buy or sell anything. 

After more than 10 days of political crises that put all the country on lock down, the humanitarian crises continues.  I personally spent 12 hours in a long line to purchase propane and water, which cost double the usual price.  Medicine and other needed supplies have become more expensive and difficult to find, and people are still afraid and stressed.  We have the feeling that the conflict is not solved and tomorrow is not certain. 

In reality Haiti is the great victim.  I think the situation after the crises will be worse because nothing is solved.  We will have many more recurrent crises, maybe some worse than this one.  So, as humanitarian actors, NGO’s like HAM, must prepare a vigorous response if we want to continue to support the most underserved and vulnerable people who very often have no other alternatives. 

January Eye Surgery and Medical Campaign

January 13, 2019, Dr. Tracee, Dr. Leslie and Paul began the first of a 2 week long team trip to Haiti. The first week we worked in the primary care clinic, saw home bound patients and Dr. Leslie assisted Dr. Jacques in surgery. We also prepared for the 3rd annual “Go Crazy do Good” Dr. Brian Stahl eye surgery team that descended on the clinic on Jan. 19th.  In 4 days, the team completed 104 eye surgeries; 94 cataract surgeries, 8 laser surgeries, and 2 for traumatic injuries.  Dr. Brian and his team have earned the trust and love of the Dumay community and beyond after 3 years of successful sight giving surgeries. Power at the clinic worked beautifully, with 2 autoclaves, operating room air conditioning and lots of surgery equipment running – Thank you Keith and Aaron.

US Doctors Arrive for October Medical Campaign trip

Susan Palleschi, Dr. Leslie, Dr. Tracee worked with our Haiti team.  Susan and Charles made the trek to Demier for a mobile eye clinic. They fitted patients with readers and glasses for distant vision as needed. They also screened for cataract patients to refer for surgery in January. Leslie and Tracee saw an increased number of children with respiratory infections, along with the usual complaints in the primary care clinic. We helped the midwives care for a pregnant patient having an acute asthma attack. We struggled with the clinic power system and got by with our LUCI lights!