Four Years in Haiti: An Update

4 yr Update thumbnailFour years have now passed since that fateful day – January 12, 2010 – when the island nation of Haiti was shaken to its core.  The 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed so many lives and infrastructure, and continues to have an impact on the people of Haiti.  However, that big quake rumbled four years ago.

Four years later, long after our initial emergency response, Heart to Heart International is no longer dealing with earthquake mitigation.  Our Haiti Operations have grown substantially in this time, as we made a commitment to work with the Haitian people and their government, to make a real and lasting impact on the health of the country.

Please watch this brief video to learn more about what we have accomplished during these four years, and what we are working on for the future.

Donors have really made all of this happen: individuals, corporations, foundations.  Without the monetary support, we couldn’t do any of this.
Please support our efforts in Haiti by making a secure donation now.

Donate Now to help further our efforts in Haiti.

###

Into the Mountains: Battling Cholera in Haiti

intro screengrabFor several months, Heart to Heart International (HHI) has led an anti-cholera campaign in the remote mountains of southeast Haiti, centered around the village of Cascade Pichon.

The video below gives an overview of the campaign and showcases how HHI is working to get in front of any new cholera outbreaks in the region, by not just bringing in needed aid supplies, but by hiking up into the mountains to educate the populace from one remote village to the next. The video also shows how local residents are stepping up to volunteer with HHI to help their own communities fight the scourge of cholera.

Education is key in battling cholera in Haiti…

To help fund these anti-cholera campaigns and other efforts to create access to healthcare in Haiti, please donate.

And please share this video on places like Facebook and other locations to let others know about our work in Haiti!

###

5K Trail Run for Haiti 2013

See below for registration info for the second annual 5K Trail Run for Haiti…

The second annual Trail Run for Haiti steps off in August – the hottest time of the year in the Kansas City Metro.

This 5K run/walk through the trails and woods is meant to symbolize the distance and conditions that many Haitians travel to access healthcare. Heart to Heart International, with its staff of Haitian medical professionals and American medical volunteers, is working to broaden access to quality healthcare for the numerous patients that travel these distances.

When:  Saturday, August 24, 2013, Sign-in 6:00AM ~ Race starts at 7:00AM
Where: Lone Elm Park, Olathe, Kansas (map)
Entry Fee:  $35 adults ~ $20 children 12 & under

Join our Event on Facebook
Trail Run Facebook
This is a trail-type run (cross country style) and parts may be on uneven ground. Strollers (with larger sized tires) are welcome.
It will be hot, as in Haiti Hot, so please prepare
for hot and humid conditions.

Click for more info and to sign up to Run!

Welch Allyn Volunteer Team in Haiti – Slideshow

Recently, a five-member team of Welch Allyn employees traveled to Haiti on a Volunteer Service Trip (VST) to assist our Haiti Operations.
For a week, the team conducted training on donated equipment, provided direct patient care and even got sweaty and covered in paint putting finishing touches on a Heart to Heart clinic.
We’ve recently showcased their trip in two blog posts written by team member Sue Mangicaro, RN, Director of Clinical Affairs at Welch Allyn, originally published on advanceweb.com.

Now we’d like to share more of the best photos from the team’s trip in a slideshow.  You can access Part One of Sue’s guest blog here… and Part Two here.

Click any photo below to enter the slideshow.  And enjoy!
DW HHI

###

Welch Allyn Volunteer Team in Haiti (Part Two)

Recently, a five-member team of Welch Allyn employees traveled to the Caribbean on a Volunteer Service Trip (VST) to assist our Haiti Operations.
For a week, the team conducted training on donated equipment, provided direct patient care and even got sweaty and covered in paint putting finishing touches on a Heart to Heart clinic.

What follows is Part Two of a guest blog by Sue Mangicaro, RN, Director of Clinical Affairs at Welch Allyn, originally published on advanceweb.com, as she describes some of the team’s experiences as volunteers with Heart to Heart.
To read Part One, click…

Sue Mangicaro:  Today, John Haberstock and I headed to Dufort, Haiti, to work with two volunteer doctors from the United States and Dr. Jean-Anis Louis, the Haitian clinician who works with Heart to Heart. We drove to the clinic through an area that looked like a jungle with lush vegetation on roads that were really just a dirt path.

 

 

 

There were mango and papaya trees along the way, as well as goats, roosters, mules and oxen. While we may not always have what we need, we follow the Haitian saying, “dégagé,” which means to do the best with what you have.  Most of the time we have no running water nor electricity (at clinic sites), but are able to treat people with what we have available to us. We are seeing some Malaria, hypertension, dehydration and multiple infections. I can not stress how reassuring it is to have our Welch Allyn equipment with us, knowing that the devices are reliable, and the amazing group of interpreters who’ve become like family after years of working side-by-side.

 

The team that has been helping Heart to Heart construct a new healthcare clinic has also been very busy. They are determined to finish what they set out to do – get the clinic as close to being ready for use as possible. The team has completely finished painting the outside of the building, installed ceilings in five rooms, painted all five rooms and built the patient waiting area. All of this work was done in extreme heat and humidity with the help of the Haitian construction crew.
Jim Colvin said how grateful he was to be working with the Haitian crew, who were incredibly skilled, because they made it that much easier for our team to work together and complete this task. Steve Hower, director of corporate relations at Heart to Heart, was also a key participant and was willing to tackle any task at hand.

Click a photo below to enter slideshow mode…

Look for Part Three soon, with more photos from the Welch Allyn Volunteer Service Trip to Haiti with Heart to Heart International…
DW HHI

###

Welch Allyn Volunteer Team in Haiti (Part One)

One of the many great things about the people at Welch Allyn is… they get it.  The medical equipment manufacturer has a great relationship with Heart to Heart International that continues to grow, and you’ll find the company’s support across many of our programs and projects.
Recently, a five-member team of Welch Allyn employees traveled to the Caribbean on a Volunteer Service Trip (VST) to assist our Haiti Operations.  For a week, the team conducted training on donated equipment, provided direct patient care and even got sweaty and covered in paint putting finishing touches on a Heart to Heart clinic.
What follows is from a guest blog from Sue Mangicaro, RN, Director of Clinical Affairs at Welch Allyn, as she describes some of the team’s experiences as volunteers.
DW HHI

♦♦♦

Sue Mangicaro:  Today we worked at a clinic in Bel Air, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, which is close to the former palace. I was struck by the progress and poverty in the region.
First the progress: When I first came to Haiti in January 2010, one month after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and then a year later in February 2011, the area looked as though it was a war zone. So many homes and government buildings, including the palace, were destroyed and there was rubble everywhere. People were living in tents as far as the eye could see-not much had changed from January 2010 to February 2011.

During this 2013 trip, I immediately noticed a significant change on the drive to the clinic. Where the collapsed palace once stood, for a full year without any change, was now a clean open space. The tents that surrounded the palace for more than a year were now all gone. While there are still some tents scattered in the area, there is a significantly less than in 2011.

There were also drastic improvements made to the clinic in Bel Air. We once saw patients in makeshift exam areas, sometimes out in the open. We now have real exam rooms. And, where we used to dispense meds from a crude set up, they now have a small pharmacy. Finally, we previously had to send patients requiring blood work away, but now there is a small lab at the clinic to run tests.

Welch Allyn is donating equipment to the clinics here in Haiti. To make sure these clinics will get the most out of the devices, we have been training the Haitian triage nurse, the nurse manager and the Haitian family physician to use the Spot Vital Signs® Lxi that we left behind. The triage nurse was thrilled to have a device that could capture all the vital parameters she was currently capturing manually (with the exception of thermometry using a Braun ear thermometer) in such a short time.

After visiting the the clinic in the morning, we went to a nearby hospital that also has a teaching program for resident physicians. We met up with several ophthalmology residents and the chief resident, along with Dr. Frantz Codio, Heart to Heart’s Medical Logistics Director who coordinated the visit.
John Haberstock (in red in photo) trained the Haitian medical staff to use the iExaminer and they were thrilled to use the donated device.  I spoke to them about the value of acquiring vital signs, regardless of specialty, while Winsome Graham provided training on the donated Spot Lxi. Each resident physician wanted to use the products and were also very grateful for the donation to their program.

All in all, it was another great day in Haiti. The team commented on how quickly the week was going and how hard it is to believe it is our last day in clinic tomorrow. We head up to the mountains in Fondwa, about a three hour drive.  It will by my second trip to this clinic and I’m looking forward to the day!

♦♦♦

Look for Part Two soon as the team works construction and heads into the mountains, along with more photos of the volunteer team’s trip…
DW HHI

Heart to Heart Hosts Haiti Development Summit

Cascade PichonIt was remarkable really.

Momentous even, that so many representatives for so many different entities chose to come to Cascade Pichon, a place quite literally at the end of the road (picture above), in a far remote corner of Haiti, difficult to reach, to talk development and healthcare with Heart to Heart International… we’re all still a bit stunned that it actually happened. But we’re all very pleased too!

The purpose of the Summit was to jump-start all of the things that have been talked about & planned for this far-flung area of Haiti, to get as many groups and government ministries involved as possible, and to get them to Cascade Pichon.

Woman_1This is one of the areas where Heart to Heart has worked for three years to broaden access to healthcare for the citizens of Haiti. There’s a new Heart to Heart health clinic in Cascade Pichon where residents, seeking care, hike down from the mountains on foot to reach. We recently launched a five-week comprehensive Cholera response to aid and educate from here. And this is where we deploy not just Haitian doctors and nurses, but medical and non-medical volunteers to help us reach our goals.

And this is where dozens of people gathered, Thursday, April 4th, 2013 to talk about the future of healthcare for thousands of residents far off the beaten path in Haiti. It’s worth mentioning the date as we hope it serves as a milestone moment.

Both Heart to Heart and The Federation of Peasants of Pichon hosted the summit where government officials, NGO representatives and local leaders met to chiefly talk sustainable development.
For the Government of Haiti this was a Director level meeting and representatives of several GoH Ministries were on hand: Health, Tourism, Education, Environment, Planification (Economic Development).
And from Heart to Heart International both CEO Krystal Barr and CFO Bud Jeffress were in-country, and joined our Haitian staff of doctors, nurses and executive personnel.

The result from this historic summit? A commitment to improve the road to Cascade Pichon and invest more in the healthcare infrastructure of the area.
It’s not everything that needs to be done, but it’s a start. A good start.

DW HHI

What follows are photos from the Summit. Click any to begin a slideshow.

Combating Cholera in Haiti

Cholera Response

This isn’t an easy fight, but it’s one that Heart to Heart International is committed to waging.
As we blogged recently, Cholera has flared in the remote southeast of Haiti around the picturesque area of Cascade Pichon.  Where the outbreak stems from, we’re not sure yet.  But its affect is apparent.
In our survey of the outbreak in this small region we found nearly two dozen people died from cholera and more than 50 contracted it, were treated, and thankfully survived.

cholera bacteriumCholera is relatively new to Haiti, believed to have been introduced for the first time in 2010 in the months following the January earthquake.  It is a bacterial infection of the small intestine that causes a large amount of watery diarrhea.  It causes severe and rapid dehydration, cramps, dry mouth and skin, excessive thirst, lethargy and nausea.
The CDC: The cholera bacterium is usually found in water or food sources that have been contaminated by feces (poop) from a person infected with cholera. Cholera is most likely to be found and spread in places with inadequate water treatment, poor sanitation, and inadequate hygiene.

 

This is where Heart to Heart comes in.  We’ve mobilized a response of not just supplies needed – like oral rehydration salts and hand-washing materials – but our professional Haitian staff consisting of doctors, nurses and public health workers.  The goal:  To treat those affected, to help them recover and to train the local population in cholera prevention.
What follows is a gallery of photos from Heart to Heart’s ongoing response to combat cholera. Click a photo to begin the slideshow.

Heart to Heart Responds in Haiti

Photo credit: Reuters

New Photos below, just arrived from the town of Belle Anse, on Haiti’s southern coast.  Heart to Heart supports community clinics in the area…

Tropical Storm Isaac has moved on from Haiti, but its effects may long be felt.

Haiti is a country where a large section of the population hangs in the balance.  Their future dictated, many times, by the forces of nature: an earthquake, a tropical cyclone…

Fortunately, Isaac did not do great damage to most of the country, however in the South and in the Southeast he did bring near-hurricane strength winds and torrential rains.  Residents suffered the loss of homes (shelters), their livelihoods in the form of crops, and are now at risk of diseases like cholera rearing their ugly heads once again.

Heart to Heart is uniquely positioned as the lead NGO in the remote and mountainous Southeast District to respond to the needs of residents.  And we are doing just that – Responding!

Currently, Heart to Heart is coordinating with in-country partners to deliver relief supplies, in a replay of the supply chain that helped to stem the outbreak of cholera in this same area in 2010/2011.  And like then, it is imperative that these supplies reach these remote communities.

“There are no other relief groups in those mountains, we’re it,” said Heart to Heart’s Dir. of Operations in Haiti Josh Jakobitz. “And is always the case with diseases like cholera and natural disasters like Isaac, speed is of the essence. If Heart to Heart is able to respond, people live.”

Speed is of the essence.  So is your support.

Note:  Heart to Heart International is also following Isaac’s movement as it pushes into the Gulf of Mexico.  HHI is planning a mobilization to the Gulf Coast, as needed, possibly consisting of humanitarian relief supplies, medical aid and our Mobile Medical Unit.

DW HHI

Heart to Heart CEO on TS Isaac

Here at Heart to Heart we are keeping a watchful eye on Tropical Storm Isaac.  It continues to bear down on Haiti, with its sights set on the Gulf Coast.
Below is a letter, just sent to donors and supporters, from HHI’s CEO Andre Butler as we prepare to mobilize.

DW HHI

Dear Friends,

As of this writing, a tropical cyclone is gathering strength in the Caribbean and churning toward Haiti and eventually the U.S.’s Gulf Coast. The storm is named Isaac, and within hours we will know what damage the storm will bring to Haiti.

We at Heart to Heart International are following these weather developments very closely as we have friends, family and coworkers in Haiti right now in the path of this storm, along with the thousands of Haitians we serve.

Our Haiti staff will ride out this storm. They have made plans and storm preparations, as they continue to oversee the operations of the 12 community clinics we partner with and continue to support with volunteers and with medical aid.
These clinics are found across Haiti: in the capital of Port-au-Prince, in the Leogane area and in the very rural and mountainous SE District. All of these areas are in the path of Isaac and could very well be affected by the storm’s high winds, torrential rain and subsequent flooding.

From there, Isaac has set his sights on the Florida Keys, and then the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. The storm is predicted to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the mainland.

We are preparing to mobilize the assets we have, including the Mobile Medical Unit, medical aid, volunteers and Heart to Heart Care Kits, to respond as needed.

Our mission in Haiti, our mission in the U.S., is to improve health and to broaden access to healthcare. Isaac may try to disrupt that. But with your continued support and assistance we won’t let it.

Please give now so that we may respond in the wake of Isaac, in both Haiti and the U.S., and prepare for the storms to come.

Sincerely,
Andre Butler
CEO – Heart to Heart International

 

 

 

Here’s how to make a difference now, to help us prepare to respond:

.