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800 receive care at medical clinic in Baradères
March 31, 2016

In February, more than 800 people received medical care—lifesaving care in at least one case—during what may have been the largest medical clinic of its kind ever held in Baradères.

In this rural Haitian village, medical care from physicians is much needed, seldom available and rarely affordable.

UPLIFT Haiti sponsored the clinic from February 10 to 15. Patients came from Baradères and the surrounding mountains to clinic sessions inside a small government-owned medical facility. The clinics were funded by our donors and by parishioners of Blessed Trinity Parish in Cleveland, Ohio.

A community of Haitian Catholic sisters, the Petites Soeurs de Ste. Thérèse (PSST), administer the Baradères medical facility. Sister Denise Desil, PSST, administrator until October 2015, said the February clinic cared for more patients and had a wider range of medical professionals than any other clinic in Baradères since at least 1987, when Sr. Denise began working in Baradères. (The current administrator is Sister Marie Judith Prophète.)

Baradères is about 100 miles--a 6- to 8-hour drive--from Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The village is literally at the end of 20 miles of bad mountain road. More than 40,000 people, mostly subsistence farmers, live within 5 miles of the Baradères medical facility. But there usually is only one physician on the staff.

At the February clinic, however, nine Haitian doctors provided care along with about a dozen nurses and volunteers, including an UPLIFT Haiti nurse. Among the doctors were a dentist and two eye doctors as well as general practitioners, an obstetrician and an orthopedic surgeon.

When doctors examined Clermitha, a 15-year-old girl, on February 10, they suspected a life-threatening bone infection. UPLIFT Haiti funded a necessary hospital referral. The orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Thony Guillaume, performed hospital surgery a week later in the city of Les Cayes. Clermitha is now recovering at home.

UPLIFT Haiti also funded referrals of another girl and two women. All had serious, previously undiagnosed and untreated conditions. Rose-Martha, 15 years old like Clermitha, had broken her right thumb in early January. She had fallen while walking on the rocky mountain road 5 miles to her school in Baradères. Without treatment, she probably would have lost the thumb and the ability to write with that hand. She has returned to classes at the Collège Ste. Jean Baptiste in Baradères, and she is expected to fully recover use of the thumb and hand.

More than 10 percent of the clinic’s 505 general medical patients were afflicted with one or more of the following: gastritis, hypertension, genital or urinary tract infections, arthritis, anemia, peptic ulcers, internal parasites, low back pain and flu. But the main underlying cause of all these ills is poverty.

In addition to the 505 general medical patients, more than 100 people visited the dentist. More than 200 visited an eye doctor; most patients were fitted with eyeglasses donated by the Cleveland parish.

The February clinic provided an excellent model UPLIFT Haiti can build on for the next one, tentatively scheduled for February 2017.

We collaborated closely with the PSST sisters and with Dr. Guillaume to assemble the Haitian medical team and purchase medicines and other supplies. The generosity of donors and volunteers made the clinic possible.

The clinic cost an average of only $7.50 per patient. UPLIFT Haiti and Blessed Trinity parish together provided $6,000 to cover pay for additional medical staff and medicines and other supplies purchased in Haiti. The six UPLIFT Haiti volunteers who traveled from Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio paid for their own travel and lodging expenses.

The February clinic showed that, even though we are a very small organization, we can improve health care in rural Haiti by planning and working closely with Haitian medical personnel. We invite you to help us do this again, by making a donation online.

At the Baradères pharmacy during the February clinic, PSST sisters fill prescriptions. From left to right: Former medical facility administrator Sr. Denise, current administrator Sr. Judith, and pharmacist Sr. Ociane.

Dr. Thony and nurse
Dr. Thony Guillaume repairs a patient's painful hand deformity, known as Dupuytren's contracture. Nurse Naomie Cajuste assists.

Rose-Martha Rose-Martha, 15, is a top student at her secondary school, Collège Ste. Jean Baptiste, in Baradères.

She nearly lost the ability to write because of an undiagnosed broken thumb she had suffered weeks earlier.

She is back in school and looking forward to having the cast removed.

Nurses fill prescriptions
Nurses Mary Dewalt—an UPLIFT Haiti volunteer from North Carolina—and local nurse Naomie Cajuste fill prescriptions during a clinic session.

Children waiting for their appointments pass the time with volunteer ballon-inflater Carolyn Simmonds of Blessed Trinity Parish in Cleveland.

Unite People to Learn, Inspire and Form Together."

© UPLIFT Haiti