Archive for January, 2009

By Jennifer Browning

With all the small successes Project Medishare has made, Haiti is still in dire need of help. This was Dr.Arthur Fournier’s message in his article, “Haiti on the Brink” in The Huffington Post. Dr. Fournier writes how individuals can help Haiti in their struggles just like University of Miami medical student, Elizabeth Greig did after her first trip to Haiti three years ago. Greig joined Project Medishare co-founder, Dr. Barth Green and a group of University of Miami students for a week in Haiti. The medical trip changed her life. Greig, after telling her stories from Haiti’s central plateau, inspired family members from Boca Raton and Chicago to finance the construction of Project Medishare’s new Maternal Health  Clinic in Marmont.

Dr. Fournier calls for philanthropies to get smart and find novel approaches to help those in need, but believes that the individual, as Elizabeth Greig did, can make a difference.

Read the full article here.

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By Jennifer Browning

Raising money for Project Medishare can be as easy as surfing the net. By performing your searches on GoodSearch.com you can help raise money for Project You Search...We Give!Medishare and support the many healthcare programs in Haiti’s Central Plateau. To be sure Project Medishare receives credit for your searches, type in Project Medishare’s name in the area asking who you are GoodSearching for, and then click verify. After verifying, every search made earns Project Medishare money. On average, if 1,000 Project Medishare supporters search twice a day for a year, Project Medishare earns $7,300

Powered by Yahoo!, GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. Use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. The money GoodSearch donates to Project Medishare comes from its advertisers, therefore it costs Project Medishare nothing.

GoodSearch also includes GoodShop, an online shopping mall of popular merchants like Best Buy, Target, Bloomingdales, and The Gap. Each purchase made via the GoodShop mall results in a donation to the user’s designated charity or school – averaging approximately 3 to 20 percent of the sale.

GoodSearch was launched in 2005 by Ken and JJ Ramberg when they realized what a fraction of the $8 billion generated annually by search engine advertisers could do if it were directed towards organizations trying to make the world a better place.

The next time your surfing the net, head over to GoodSearch, verify that you are searching for Project Medishare, and help the people of Haiti’s Central Plateau with every search.

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By Jennifer Browning

While the nursing students from the University of Miami have returned from their medical trip in Haiti, you can view some of the photos from their trip here.

Want to hear about their trip? Check out their posts by clicking on the links below.

UM nursing students work with Project Medishare’s mobile clinic in remote Baille Touribe

Community based care in the central plateau

UM nursing student get’s a look at life in Haiti’s Central Plateau

Nursing student experiences first hand how the Community Health Program is ‘complex and integrated’

UM nursing students participate with community rally post

UM nursing student appreciates clinical protocol followed by Project Medishare’s medical staff

University of Miami nursing students return to Haiti

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dscn0431Photo by Jennifer Browning

By Jennifer Browning

A roving ambassador for hip hop and Haiti, musician Wyclef Jean, spoke in an interview on 60 minutes Sunday about how he wants to make a difference and give hope to Haiti’s urban youth.

Click here to read the story featured on CBS’s website or go to Haiti Innovation‘s site where Bryan Scharrf has posted a summary of Wyclef’s interview.

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By Jennifer Browning

In addition to hosting the Rebuild Haiti event, Coral Gables Congregational Church combined their efforts with the Lambi Fund of Haiti, and the Church Haiti Mission Task Force to host a toy drive for the children of Haiti’s Central Plateau. While the church annually hosts an Angel Tree/Toy Drive campaign, Megan Corallis, Coral Gables’ Christian Education director, suggested that the children of Haiti be the beneficiaries of this year’s campaign.

Leonie M. Hermantin, Deputy Director of Lambi Fund of Haiti said sending the toys to Haiti was important this year.

cimg0391“Sending the toys to Haiti, and to the children of Thomonde was extremely important, especially this year in the aftermath of the hurricanes,” Hermantin said. “We all know that communities in Haiti, struggling to recover from these natural disasters, have focused on survival and have little time and resources to devote to their children. Members of the Coral Gables Coral Gables church understood and responded with incredible and heart warming generosity.”

Project Medishare staff members helped distribute the toys to children in the villages of Marmont and Thomonde.

*Photos by Gabrielle Denis.

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By Christine Farley

Baille Touribe, HAITI–Since last January, I have been looking forward to this trip. The thrill of spending time tucked away in the mountains of Haiti, away from the Miami hustle has helped me survive two semesters of nursing school. While our clinical experience in the States involves contemporary technology, the laboratory tests and diagnostic screenings can easily become our crutch. When delivering healthcare with Project Medishare one must rely on a stethoscope, an observant eye, and a keen ear. As we venture into the countryside to perform assessments, immunizations, and education we must pause to consider our client population. The majority of health dilemmas that trouble the people of Thomonde are not the same as those from which south Floridians face. Running water comes from a river, not from a faucet; energy costs physical labor and personal ecological resources, not a generator and sanitation must often yield to practicality.

img_3105Yesterday we traveled about an hour down rocky mountainous roads to the remote settlement of Baille Touribe. The village is cut off during the rainy season so the prevention and treatment provided by the mobile clinic is essentially the peoples’ primary source of licensed health care. The mobile clinic team consists of four doctors and our group of six nursing students. From morning until late afternoon the doctors met with over 150 men, women, and children. The clients patiently waited in the church on handmade wooden pews, in the Sunday school room, or in patches of shade while the doctors spoke first with those who appeared most ill. The nursing students walked from person to person taking blood pressures or helping with physical assessments of clients too young to voice their ailments. Most peoples’ problems were related to malnutrition or lack of clean water. Anemia, parasites, and gastritis were some of the common diagnoses among the adults. Several people also presented with hypertension and atherosclerosis, both diagnosed without looking at more than their blood pressure and listening to their physical complaints. Most of the children suffered from diarrhea or dermatologic complications related to parasitic infections. Clients were then given the appropriate medications, as well as, instructions on lifestyle modifications (eg: drink less or watered down coffee if one is hypertensive) and refilling their prescriptions. Even though there is no time to build rapport, the provider/client conversation must be as candid as it is concise. By the end of our day the team had assisted a population equivalent to a small hospital.

As the week comes to a close, I have witnessed health care refined to its most essential components. Without sterile technique, without insurance contracts, or privacy policy, services are rendered with the same efficiency and efficacy as in progressive hospitals. The tools, the technology and the equipment, we use on a daily basis are simply that: instruments of a professional field. I have seen that delivering effective health care actually boils down to an observant provider and a willing client. Problems are not solved by technology alone. In the Central Plateau of Haiti, solutions are hatched from conversations and cooperation from the community. The people need access to modern medicine and Project Medishare is using a myriad of economical and human resources to assure that the demand is fulfilled.

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By Hillary Hecktman

Thomonde, HAITI–Just when I believe I’ve seen all health care opportunities in the Central Plateau of Haiti, the wind blows in a special surprise. Participating in a surgical procedure became a milestone in my life. It doesn’t get more real than scrubbing in on a hemorrhoidectomy and being an assistant to the surgeon working on his case.

Flies adhering to patients’ wounds and faces kept my muscles tight. Babies piled together in the pediatric ward brought tears to my eyes. Soon to be mothers lacking appropriate beds and IV pumps to assist in a healthy delivery gave me the chills. These facts truly pain my heart while spending the day in one of the hospitals.

img_3107While the health care system in Haiti could use greater resources, I do believe that sick patients are offered an extremely personal level of care by the Project Medishare medical team in Thomonde. Observing the interaction between nurses and their patients has inspired me to bring this aspect of human touch into my own work as a health care provider. The amount of patients seen by the physicians is truly astounding! One day I aspire to become a nurse practitioner so I, too, can provide mass amounts of care to children in need similar to the doctors I have worked with here in Haiti’s Central Plateau.

Walking through the natural terrain to experience home visits was a wonderful experience. During the span of about three hours, we visited over 15 homes and questioned families about their knowledge regarding water sources, birth control, and vaccination records. This provided me with a varying understanding of health care in Haiti because education is brought to the patient in addition to the patient seeking information.

During this week I have learned to appreciate the various ways in which organizations such as Project Medishare, make it a priority to use community based care.

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By Rosa Salgado

Thomonde, HAITI–My experience began the moment I got on the airplane to Haiti. From the airport, we drove to Thomonde. The roads were very bumpy and I felt kind of nauseous, but I was looking to the road seeing the mountains and the children smiling gave me a peace of mind. Looking at the people and their houses, I realized how blessed I am living in America.

img_3036The Haitian people work very hard everyday to make a living. The job opportunities and the economy in Haiti are very poor. I saw many people in every corner trying to sell a product to make a living. Early in the morning you can see women walking for miles, carrying their heavy items on their head, to sell their produce at the nearest market. Seeing the women washing their clothes in nearby streams and children trying to bathe themselves with drops of water coming from a well, it’s not difficult to realize that many of the problems that prevent Haitians from having a better life is the lack of water and electricity. The diseases the people face here in Haiti are the direct cause of the environment where they live, the lack of water, financial resources and energy as well as many others.

Visiting the patients at the outpatient clinics gave me an unforgettable experience. While the mobile clinic had very little resources, the Project Medishare team made sure the setup was efficient and organized. The pharmacy was located in a room where the Project Medishare team counted medications and packed them into little plastic bags to be distributed according to the doctor’s prescriptions. Located near the pharmacy was the doctor’s examination room, the nurses’ room and then the waiting area. Before the patients saw the doctor, the UM nursing students took the patient’s vital signs. By assisting the Haitian nurses in taking the patient’s vitals, I learned how to better observe a patient by closely observing their actions.

I have learned so much from this experience and I am amazed at how much Project Medishare is able to accomplish with such few resources. Working with the community health program in Thomonde is an experience I will never forget.

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By Neekan Aeini

Although I’ve volunteered in the Caribbean before, specifically in Trinidad, nothing could prepare me for what I was going to experience in Haiti. I’ve heard that it is the poorest country in the western hemisphere but it’s hard to put a picture to the description unless you experience it first hand.

img_2976Upon arriving in the streets of Thomonde, I could only see the need for adequate health care. After our first orientation, I learned about the community health program which is complex and integrated. Although started by Project Medishare, the organization took a grass-root approach and extended its services by using well respected, local volunteers to be community health agents who educate the community on health issues and disease prevention.

At first I didn’t understand the significance of this approach until we volunteered at our first rally post. We traveled into a remote village where mothers brought their babies to be weighed. They continuously track their img_3006growth to make sure they are not malnourished. We also provided vaccinations. While we weighed the babies, the community health agent spoke about how to prevent getting worms by improving hygiene and cooking techniques. This may seem like a typical volunteer event, however; one must travel to these locations to truly realize the lack of resources. There is no constant supply of water, and the water they do have is often contaminated which contributes to high rates of diarrhea and malaria. There are many children with scabies because there is no boiling water for mothers to wash their clothes. Many of the children have discoloration and patches of hair missing which common signs of malnutrition. There are no diapers, baby formula, cleaning supplies, and no nearby hospital. Haiti is filled with these remote villages that often do not have access to these resources. That’s when I realized how thoroughly planned and organized Project Medishare’s community outreach program is.

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By Susie Hartl

Thomonde, HAITI–This trip to Haiti has really opened my eyes! Today we participated in a rally post which is a program where community leaders and the Project Medishare join together at several sites in the community to provide various forms of primary healthcare.

img_7829When we first arrived, we sat in on an educational program given by the community leader. The program focused on the teachings of preventive care for such concerns as parasites, hygiene, and nutrition. The community leader later asked questions at the end of session to analyze the group’s comprehension of the teachings and to open the discussion to additional concerns. Participants in the program seemed to be very interested and attentive during the session. I believe this great cooperation comes from the mutual trust between the community leader with and the community members.

After the teaching session, we weighed the young children to analyze their nutritional status. During the weighing we were able to do a quick assessment of the children to examine their health status. Some of the children were underweight and some children displayed yellow-colored hair indicative of malnutrition. After the weighing, we gave the infants immunizations orally and intramuscularly.

The doctors also met with concerned parents and examined their children. I am very impressed regarding how well the program works. I feel like we have accomplished a great deal for the community just by the grateful ‘thank –you’ we received on our departure. I feel very honored and privileged to have the opportunity to participate in such a great program as Project Medishare.

*Susie Hartl is a nursing student at the University of Miami.

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