Haiti Update: Meeting My Team & Logistical Details x Needs

Last Friday I finally met the team of doctors and medical students I am traveling to Haiti with come December. Even though I agreed to go on this trip back in September, I hadn’t actually met anyone going besides my friend who told me about the opportunity. I was only communicating to team leaders via email.

What a beautiful group of people! Passionate. Diverse. Just awesome. Doctors, medical students, non-med students and non-medical professionals. Undergrads, medical students, and professionals. Asian, White, Black and everything in between. And this is just the NYC-area team.

So, about my previous October 15th fundraising deadline. Apparently we are still allowed to fund raise until December 1 if donors want to give and be eligible for a tax-deductible donation. We just had to turn in whatever we had by October 15th so our planning team had tangible funds to purchase medical supplies and make logistical plans for the trip. So…keep the donations coming šŸ™‚ I think I might will put up another ChipIn widget to raise more money.

Several people going this year went last year, so they have experience on their side. We plan to spend 3 or 4 days in Port-Salut, Haiti, then another 3 or 4 days in Port-au-Prince. We have a triage system in place and, if my memory serves me correctly, the process for patients will go as such:

  1. Enter the intake area that records demographic info and records symptoms
  2. Proceed to the triage area where medical staff will diagnoses/determine what kind of care the patient needs, and prioritize the order of patient care
  3. See a doctor/medical staff for treatment; surgery may be administered if necessary
  4. Go to the pharmacy for meds distribution
  5. Visit the donation area to get clothing, shoes, etc.

We’re thinking of creating a dedicated (but totally optional) area for prayer, and while this is not required in order to get medical care, we think it is good to have a dedicated area for those who may want some comfort and prayer.

Last year, I believe the team treated 1,100 patients, but said there were many many more people who were never treated. In fact, there is a sentiment that we’ll run out of medical supplies so quickly, we’ll have to ration out our supplies in the early days in order to make sure we don’t run out by the end of the week. I can only imagine what medical needs are like now, post-earthquake.

In addition, the team said last year that the children of Haiti are especially in need of medical care. They said that for the first few days they only treated children because they had the most immediate medical needs, and were the ones in line suffering with the worst ailments. We usually have someone monitoring the line, looking to identify those who look the most in need (i.e. unresponsive, passed out, extremely weak), and those individuals tended to be children.

My heart aches for the children of Haiti. At our meeting I learned that we won’t be distributing food during our time there. It would be great if we could serve the children Plumpy’nut, which is a proven anti-malnutrition food supplement. It’s kind of like a magic energy bar that combats malnutrition. Our team leaders are already at capacity with planning though, and we’re not sure if this is feasible for us to add to our plate, given our human and financial resources. I don’t know. I might see if I can figure out a way to help in this area. From what I gather, the amount of children that hang around our mobile medical unit is fairly significant. I would really like to serve them by providing food.

Some other needs:

  • Medical and nursing textbooks. If you went to nursing school or medical school and don’t need/want your old textbooks, PLEASE consider sending them to me for our trip. Part of our trip includes working alongside Haitian medical students and staff. They could really use textbooks, as information and knowledge-sharing is part of our service during this trip.
  • Attending doctors. If you or someone you know is an attending doctor, we are looking for more to go on the trip with us. Dates of travel are Dec 26 – Jan 2.
  • Clothing. We will be taking clothes and shoes to Haiti in our luggage for our donation area. Please contact me if you’d like to send something along and I’ll give you an address to mail to.
  • Plumpy’nut. Yeah so, I want to give the children Plumpy’nut but I have no idea where to get it, who has it, and how we would distribute it. If you know ANYthing about the distribution of Plumpy’nut in Haiti, please let me know. I am going to do my own research on this, of course, but I could use some hints, connects or heads up šŸ™‚ Like I said, I don’t know everyone very well (yet) on my trip, so I still have to approach them about this and see what they know as well.

Anyway, that’s an update on Haiti. More later.

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