Dr. John Root, JCMH Family Practice physician, recently returned from a seven-day medical mission trip to Haiti with Heart to Heart International. Dr. Root was with a patient-care team deployed to the remote Sud-Est department of Haiti with four other physicians.
Haiti, a Creole-French speaking Caribbean country, is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In the Sud-Est department of Root’s tour, there are very limited health systems, no clinics, no electricity grid, and no public water system.
While traveling the dirt roads to their locations, the physicians, pharmacists, and interpreters saw patients with typical diagnoses such as high blood pressure and dyspepsia along with tuberculosis, Hepatitis A, typhoid, malaria and other tropical diseases. Root says, “There are efforts being made to improve the health system. The volunteer program with Heart to Heart currently visits about once per month and are working to get volunteers for once per week visits.”
“I was encouraged by their community – all the school-age kids were in uniforms and most that are under age 20 are literate. They are very patriotic and have a gung-ho spirit about their country. The model for HHI is sustainable healthcare. As a result, we are not distributing free healthcare. Patients were charged about 100 gourde per visit, which would be equivalent to about $2.00, and then charged accordingly for any tests necessary.”
The entire mission consisted of four teams. One was an education team established to assist the Ministry of Health (MSSP) organize a family medicine program. A patient care team was deployed to Leogane, the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake. A service team was also deployed to the same area to repair a school and orphanage. Root’s patient care team consisted of four other physicians Dr. Jackenson Davilmar of Port au Prince, Dr. Janna Hami of Phoenix, AZ, Dr. Stephanie Prior of Cape Cod, MA, and Dr. Kim Tjaden of St. Cloud, MN. A total of 1300 patients were assessed between the two patient care teams. This is the highest total since the 2010 earthquake by the HHI organization.
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