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Medical Project in Petit-Trou-de-Nippes

May 2011

Lydie and Francesca with patientNurse Lydie Alexandre (L) and EMT Francesca Beauduy with one of the clinic patients.


We taught 78 students at the parish elementary school some basic hygiene skills to prevent disease and urged them to continue their education and participate in volunteer work.
Students

 

Dr. Rene St. Leger speaks with the elementary school children.
Dr. St. Leger with school children

 

Dr. Thony talks to the schoolchildren about cholera and the importance of washing their hands with soap.

 

Below, nurse Lydie looks on while young adults practice with each other on how to take a person's blood pressure.
Hands-on training

 

Vanessa coaches a young student on how to improvise an emergency leg splint to nicely complement the splint on her left forearm.

 

Nurse Lydie and Dr. Thony (right) teaching the young adults how to read blood sugar levels.

 

Lydie emphasizes the importance of protective gloves.

 

At the end of the workshop each attendee received a certificate and a gift bag.


People living in the remote rural town of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes typically go years without access to medical care. UPLIFT Haiti sent a team there from April 30 to May 7 to provide a two-day medical clinic, increase public health awareness among elementary school students, and teach first aid and emergency response to young adults. 

Petit-Trou-de-Nippes is located 90 miles west of Port-au-Prince and just east of the Bay of Baradères. Our visit there only put a small dent into the overall crisis, considering that health problems in Haiti are immense. Many of the town’s residents, however,  now have a higher quality of life, gained knowledge, and a new sense of community responsibility.

We achieved these outcomes only because of the generous contributions of our donors, support of our counterparts in Haiti, and the hard work of our volunteers, who devoted their time and financial resources. For all these gifts we are very grateful.

The medical team consisted of seven U.S. and Haitian volunteers who could speak Creole and had medical expertise.

Coming from the U.S. were:

  • Judith Nestor, logistics coordinator;
  • Lydie Alexandre, nurse and medical team leader;
  • Francesca Beaduy, emergency medical technician;
  • Vanessa Rigaud, photojournalist and occupational therapist;
  • Dr. Marvin W. Ashford III, cardiologist; and
  • Dr. René St. Leger, internist.

Haitian team members were:

  • Dr. Thony Guillaume, internist and hospital administrator, and
  • Our local host and partner, Father René Maxime, pastor of the parish of Notre Dame de la Nativité.

We arrived in Petit-Trou-de-Nippes Saturday night, April 30, after a 7-hour drive over potholed roads and through heavy rain. Father René housed us in the parish rectory.

Medical clinic
The clinic began Monday morning and was open 6 to 8 hours that day and Tuesday. Lydie greeted each patient, recording vital signs and physical complaints and noting possible causes. One of our doctors then examined the patient, provided a diagnosis and prescribed medication or other treatment. Francesca and Vanessa filled prescriptions.

At the end of each day, we met to review cases for possible follow-up or outside referral and to refine our plan for the following day.

Thirty-one percent of the 209 clinic patients were diagnosed with hypertension. The next most common conditions were gastroesophageal reflux disease (24 percent) and gynecological problems (23 percent). Also common were diabetes, osteoarthritis and skin disorders.

In all we diagnosed 39 different medical problems. More than 90 percent of patients had two or more medical issues.

We asked six patients to return the next day for additional treatment or consultation. One was a seriously ill, 53-year-old postmenopausal woman with intense pain and vaginal bleeding. One of our doctors suspected fibroids. We referred her to a hospital in Les Cayes, where a sonogram confirmed the presence of fibroids. A second sonogram, at a hospital in Miragoâne, found that the fibroids were metastatic; a hysterectomy was performed.

Finally, on July 26, surgery was performed to remove the fibroids. The woman soon returned home and has fully recovered. UPLIFT Haiti paid all travel, food, lodging and medical expenses.

Another patient was a 14-year-old girl who is wheelchair bound and has a congenital disease resulting in spastic limbs, pain and immobility. Vanessa, our occupational therapist, fitted her with resting hand splints.

Vanessa also showed the mother how to protect her daughter's joints and use passive range-of-motion techniques to minimize contractions of the girl's upper extremities and maintain her skin integrity.

Other notable patients included a 45-year-old woman who had hallucinations because of previously undiagnosed diabetes; an elderly woman with difficulty sleeping due to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from the 2010 earthquake; and house workers with repetitive stress injuries.

We treated every patient with respect, care and love and gave personalized medical treatment and education to relieve symptoms and promote quality of life. Treatment and medications were provided at no cost to patients.

We purchased some medications and supplies at reduced prices from CrossLinks International, a nonprofit.  Some medicines and supplies were donated by students at Briggs Chaney Middle School in Montgomery County, Maryland. For 2 years the students, led by teacher Lisa Peacock, have donated vitamins, antibiotic ointment, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other items to UPLIFT Haiti.

Public Health Awareness
On Wednesday, May 4, the team led a program in public health awareness at a local grade school.

We taught the school’s 78 students some basic hygiene skills to prevent disease and urged them to continue their education and participate in volunteer work.

We also provided each child with toothpaste, toothbrush and vitamins. These had been donated by Green Acres Dental of Valley Stream, N.Y.;  employees of St. Francis Hospital on Long Island; Maryland dentist Dr. Charles Drucker; and other donors.

First Aid and Emergency Response

On May 5, we conducted an 8-hour workshop in first aid and emergency response to young adults who had demonstrated interest in pursuing medical careers. We divided the 18 participants into two groups.

While one group participated in a lab class taught by Francesca, Lydie and Vanessa, the other group had presentations from the physicians. The groups switched after lunch.

The doctors’ talks focused on how to identify, treat and prevent diseases common in the area, including athlete's foot, eczema, malaria, tuberculosis, STDs and intestinal worms.

The lab class focused on hands-on training. This included emergency response to set broken bones, clean wounds, make splints from available objects, take blood pressure, check blood sugar, and other skills. At the end of the workshop each attendee received a certificate and a gift bag.

At a farewell ceremony on May 6, Judith Nestor encouraged town residents to volunteer for community service.  She specifically urged the young adults who had attended the workshop to share their new medical knowledge, be health care ambassadors for their community, and take a role in helping prevent cholera that is now found throughout Haiti.


UPLIFT Haiti, a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity, organizes teams of volunteers to travel to Haiti to work with local communities in accomplishing sustainable projects for improving health, education, employment, and the local economy and infrastructure.

Copyright 2009-2016 UPLIFT Haiti

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