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About 5,000 Haitians Received Medical Care By American Medical Mission

Armen Hareyan's picture

Medical Mission

NOAH completed its Annual Medical Mission in Haiti on July 25, 2007.

National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) was accompanied by 15 physicians, 5 Nurses, 21 Howard University School of Medicine Medical Students and several paramedical volunteers from around The United States.

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According to Dr. Joseph Baptiste, Chairman of NOAH, the goal of serving thousands of Haitian patients throughout the country was accomplished. The team was broken up into two medical teams and traversed the country by bus with the help of the Haitian National Police as they visited patients in hard- to-reach areas of the country like Archahaie, Pont Sonde, La Valle of Jacmel, Port Salut, and Roche-Jarboin. They were able to see a myriad of medical cases that included patients with Hypertension, Tuberculosis, Malnutrition, and those with waterborne illnesses. Three babies were delivered. Howard University Medical Students reported that the experience of the medical mission was invaluable and contributed significantly to a higher understanding of medical issues faced by vulnerable populations in the country.

A preliminary survey is being conducted by NOAH as part of the medical mission. It indicates an immediate need for further intervention in the following areas: Diabetes, Hypertension, Planned Parenthood, Early Sexual Initiation Prevention, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Tuberculosis, HIV, Clean Water and Malnutrition.

Medical Providers reported that they were struck by the abundance of basic medical needs that still exists at a primary level. According to Dr. Henry Paul, co-coordinator for this year's medical mission, the good news is that these issues could all be mitigated immediately through some technical assistance or via a medical supply grant coordinated with the Ministry of Health. For example, clinics in all of the regions that were visited were faced with severe shortages of basic medical supplies. On a more long-term basis, numerous health professionals are needed immediately (OBGYNs, Pediatricians, Dentists, Surgeons, Nurses, Psychologists, and Dermatologists). Social Workers are also needed in order to provide case management services to patients.

NOAH plans to examine how it could further support the health service delivery in Haiti on a more continuous basis. Dr. Berthie Labissiere, co-coordinator of the medical mission, said that NOAH would like to establish a maternal child health clinic in one of the deprived areas. The president of the Haitian Medical School, Dr. Saverna, acknowledged the important contribution of NOAH's Medical Mission and is currently exploring how Haitian Medical School students can partner with NOAH in further decreasing the gaps in access to health services to the poor.

The National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) is a non- profit organization founded in 1990 by expatriate Haitians residing in the United States. NOAH's mission is to advocate on behalf of the people of Haiti, to promote the country internationally, and to support the people in their quest for democracy and economic development. Eighty percent of Haiti's population lives in abject poverty, and the average life expectancy is 55 years. A majority of the population is unable to afford basic healthcare, and due to lack of resources, many common manageable illnesses, which have been eradicated long ago in developed countries, go untreated.