Living in Haiti is like life anywhere – it is easy to get caught up in everyday tasks and forget the ultimate long-term goals. We are trying to live our life with two main goals – one professional and one personal/family oriented. The professional reason God has brought us to Haiti is to help with the indigenous mobilization of the MOH medical clinic. The clinic is open M-F and sees 50-70 patients/day. There are 2 Haitian physicians – Dr. Jennifer and Dr. Alix and 4 Haitian nurses. There are also lab, pharmacy, cashier, and housekeeping staff. The clinic is almost entirely Haitian run – the two exceptions are wound care and urgent care (emergency). Hence, our involvement. It is our goal to have the clinic entirely integrated and Haitian run by the end of our year here. Short-term medical mission teams will still be needed, just in a different capacity. Teams will be used to advance the mobile medical program with a goal of having two weeks of mobile medical clinics a month. Teams will also be used for surgical missions (once the hospital is completed). Surgical missions will run for two weeks once a month.
Since arriving here in February, we have been working towards the goal. The day-by-day routines have led to an increased knowledge of the culture, and language of the Haitians. We have built relationships with our Haitian co-workers and are constantly amazed by their strength, compassion, and faith. We have much to learn from them.
I am having to re-learn everything I’ve known about wound care. With the tropical environment, malnutrition, chronic, often uncontrolled, disease processes (such as hypertension, diabetes, and anemia) and culture of miles of walking daily – the multitude of chronic leg wounds cannot be treated the same as treatment in the US would be. Rick is having to rethink emergency medicine – making decisions with limited tests/information, treating with limited resources, thinking through the long-term effects of potential treatments (the ‘and then what’…).
Rick has been working daily with the nurses and physicians on case-by-case basis. Urgent care is not taught in Haitian medical programs. This past week, Rick was able to spend four days training all of the nurses at once. We had a Mercy Ships medical team for the week who worked the clinic so that Rick and the nurses (and of course Stanley, Rick’s translator) could do training outside of the clinic. It was great. They spent 2 days on trauma and 2 on medical (mainly uninterrupted). At the same time, we had a pharmacist working with our Haitian staff on making the flow in the pharmacy smoother and sustainable. Overall, an exciting move forward.
There are many weeks where a visual move forward cannot be seen – but it is always happening. Slowly moving forward to complete God’s work for us here. We cannot do this without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the prayers of so many others, and the financial support of our partners.