Haiti: January - February 2018
World Health Partnerships made their first mission trip to Haiti. 183 surgeries and an additional 100 people served in our off-site mobile clinics.
Over the past five years, in partnership with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, our group has
traveled to St. Louis du Nord, Haiti on mission trips. These one-week missions are
staffed by forty to fifty volunteers, at their own expense, to provide otherwise unavailable medical and surgical care to the people of this community. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and the northwest portion of Haiti is the poorest area in the country.
Our group is composed of a core group from Michigan plus a variety of different people on each trip. This last mission included people from Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Maryland, California, and Texas. Many of the volunteers had never met prior to the mission but we quickly became friends and a well oiled medical team! The mission in St. Louis is based at an orphanage that is home to approximately 130 children. The facility, “hospital,” has two operating rooms, a small procedure room, a six bed recovery area and a six bed post operative area. These beds are not more than eighteen inches apart and provide little to no privacy. The clinical area has electrical power from a large diesel generator about sixteen hours per day. The power is off at night leaving the patients and care team in the dark. The facilities are spartan at best, but function well given the situation and location. There is great difficulty in getting medical equipment and supplies into Haiti. Shipping is limited and expensive. The majority of the supplies needed for our surgeries is carried into the country and thru customs by the missionaries. As we travel into the country, we each bring two fifty pound suitcases filled with supplies along with a backpack for our personal items. This past year our team of forty five brought over 4,000 pounds of supplies on our Delta Airline flight! It is quite an ordeal at the airport and through customs in Port au Prince! The supplies we bring are donated, or purchased, by the group.
Patients served by the team range from small children to adults. The mission also is home to an active Birthing Center with over 500 deliveries a year. Recently we provided assistance with a complicated deliveries of two babies via cesarean section. These twins were born to an HIV mother with severe anemia. Our physicians also provided an off-site mobile gynecology clinic for local girls with concerns and issues, who would not have otherwise had access to medical care. We were able to provide exams, ultrasounds, treatments, and education. The operating rooms ran full time all week completing many major surgeries including hysterectomies, hernia, hydrocelectomies, the cosmetic repair of a badly scarred ear, and many more procedures. Our “Petite Clinic,” or procedure room, removed small lipomas and cysts, provided vasectomies, and provided other small procedures.
In addition to our medical mission while in Haiti we are able to participate in, and support many other missions. The “Meals on Heels Mission” takes food out into the local community to select home that are in need, or unable to get food themselves. The “Brothel Ministry” works with young girls to learn skills such as jewelry making to provided alternate money making endeavors. These girls are put out on the streets as young as 12 years old to work as prostitutes to support their families. The Miriam Center is an onsite special needs orphanage. It is home to approximately thirty four children with special needs and handicaps. Also onsite is the “Gran Moun." This is a living community for the elderly who have no family to provide care. The orphanage itself houses ninety to one hundred children ranging in age from 10-19 years old. These children are given a safe home, an adequate diet, education, biblical teaching, and love. They are being educated and raised to be future leaders within their community.