Archive for April, 2010

By Jennifer Browning

Shortly after the January 12 earthquake, Spencer’s joined forces with Delta Apparel, Next Level Apparel, and T-shirt Central and offered 10,000 T-shirts in varying styles for sale to raise money for Project Medishare. Spencer’s store associated offered these shirt to every guest for a suggested donation amount of $10, $5, or $1 and raised over $38,000–all which is being donated to Project Medishare’s earthquake relief efforts.

Spencer’s donations will allow Project Medishare to supply an additional 76 patients with a new prosthetic limb.

“It is an incredible sight to see these children and adults who had lost all hope for a normal life, get back on their feet again and walk out of our hospital,” Jenna Green, Project Medishare’s Director of Development said. “We are so incredibly grateful for Spencer’s support and what an amazing result to your fundraising efforts.”

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more about “Haiti: The Long Road Back“, posted with vodpod
By Jennifer Browning

In case you missed it Friday evening, here is the video clip from CBS Evening News. News anchor, Katie Couric, visited Project Medishare’s field hospital in Port-au-Prince a few weeks ago. Here is the story she did regarding Project Medishare’s efforts in Haiti.

If you can’t view the video above you may find it here.

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By Jennifer Browning

While the impending rainy season makes life difficult in our field hospital in Port-au-Prince, the same rain helps seeds turn to much needed food.

For the past three years, through the Integrated Community Development Program, Project Medishare has been working to improve agriculture in the Central Plateau.

As part of the program, our local agronomists work with area farmers to help them improve farming practices so their fields will yield better crops.

In 2008, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) donated 220 earthboxes through the FAO’s Growing Connections Program. Project Medishare is received not only assistance from FAO but also from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida (IFAS) who continue to provide techincal assistance to our agricultural program.  The program is an effort to begin an alternative growing program for the vulnerable (elders, sick, handicapped), children and adolescents.

Project Medishare’s agronomist, Ronal Bien-aimé and IFAF’s Florence Sergile tested the Earth Boxes by seeing how they would adapt to local conditions. The agronomists monitored and compared the plant growth being tested in the Earth Boxes with those planted in a field.

With the success of the program, the agriculture team expanded the experience into the community. Ten Earth Boxes went to Marmont and were placed in the yard of the local clinic where visitors and patients can see the possibilities of alternative gardening, and the link between nutrition and good health.

In June 2008, Project Medishare provided training to the Haitian staff and consultants with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) introducing FAO Haiti to the agriculture program of the Project Medishare Integrated Community Development Program in Marmont.  Demonstrations and trainings were done for local women at the trial farm as well as in the community.

Last year, our agriculture team began working with IDEJEN (Young Idea), a group of 25 adolescents as part of the community expansion. IDEJEN assisted Project Medishare’s agriculture team by receiving hands on training with 25 Earth Boxes. The group, which is comprised of at-risk youth in the community, continues to work with our agriculture team.

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By Jennifer Browning

Haitian-born Bogosse founders Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu have created a Limited Edition Collection, L’Union Fait La Force, and are donating 50 percent of the proceeds to Project Medishare.

Bogosse founders Fabrice and Patrick Tardieu at the Nordstrom Galleria in Dallas where they introduced their Limited Edition shirts L’Union Fait La Force. Two more personal appearances will be held at the Nordstrom at Dadeland Mall, Miami tomorrow, and at Nordstrom Aventura, Miami on May 8.Photo by Jennifer Browning.

This collection, which debuted earlier this month at the Nordstrom Galleria in Dallas is very special to the Patrick and Fabrice. Tomorrow you can meet the men behind the label who are hosting an in-store Nordstrom public appearance to launch the line and to promote their relief initiative with Project Medishare, whose ongoing partnership with Bogosse will help both organizations stand by and support the people of Haiti.

Only 600 shirts have been made in eight different styles; 75 shirts per style. The inside labels of the back collar boast the colors of the Haitian flag.  The line will be carried in three locations: Nordstrom Galleria, Dallas; Aventura, Miami; and Dadeland Mall, Miami.

You can see this beautifully detailed Limited Edition collection along with Fabrice and Patrick  at Nordstrom in the Dadeland Mall tomorrow, Saturday April 24 between 1 and 5 p.m. and at Nordstrom Aventura on May 8.

Click here to see images from their debut of L’Union Fait La Force at Nordstrom Galleria, Dallas.

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By Jennifer Browning

This Sunday young musicians from the Piano Preparatory Program will perform jazz, pop and Latin music in Coconut Grove at South Florida’s premier piano restaurant and lounge.

Between 5-7 p.m. there will be 2 for 1 drinks and appetizers at Crazy Pianos.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute field hospital in Haiti.

For more information contact: Piano Preparatory Program at 786-853-4041 or email keyboardforkids@miami.edu.

Crazy Pianos is located at 3015 Grand Avenue, Miami FL 33133/ http://www.crazypianosmiami.com/ 305-567-2462.

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Nurse anesthetist Tonya Via helps a patient get transferred to be airvacced to the United States. Via volunteered in the first few weeks after the January 12 earthquake. Photo courtesy of Tonya Via.

By Tonya Via

After the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, I sat silently and watched the news as my heart turned violently in my chest.  I saw many images of the massive destruction, devastation, and despair. The most vivid one that stood out in my mind and forever changed my life was a man lying on a coffee table found among the rubble having his leg amputated as he lye there awake under a tarp in the city.  It was then I realized there was something I should do, I could do, and wanted to do to prevent another human being, who survived one of the worst natural disasters we have ever known, from having to experience the same inexcusable horrific pain. I am a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. My responsibility is to alleviate pain and keep my patients safe and comfortable during surgical procedures.  The Haitians desperately needed anesthesia care, and I knew I needed to respond.

I knew it would be a logistic challenge getting to Haiti so I began working quickly to align myself with an organization I could volunteer with that shared my same passion, helping the people of Haiti in dire need.  The University of Miami Children’s Hospital and Project Medishare graciously afforded me that opportunity. The endless, tiring and unselfish work of Ann McNeil from the neurosurgical department at University of Miami Children’s Hospital, was nothing short of amazing. Through her efforts, she made it possible for me, a complete stranger to her, to become part of the medical volunteer team at Project Medishare and University of Miami’s field hospital.

As the sun was setting in Port-Au-Prince, the jet landed. My heart raced I had so many of those images I had seen on the television and Internet invading my mind. Would I too see the same things? Would I get to take care of the Haitians and provide the anesthesia care I came to do?  I took a deep breath and began to prepare myself for the real thing.  I had waited nearly two long weeks with a broken heart.  I was finally there to do what I came to do, help the victims I had seen suffering. To provide the one thing that the man lying on that coffee table needed the most, proper anesthesia care. We climbed down the stairs of our luxury jet and life, as we knew it ended. It was a sight I couldn’t believe. Waiting our arrival was a team of mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted volunteers standing on the tarmac waiting to return home. Their sense of urgency in returning home quickly changed into an unbelievable organized group of helpful cooperative exhausted individuals. They quickly began helping off-load all the supplies we had brought down from the underside of the jet. It was truly a sight to behold. As if they had any ounce of energy left, here they were passing box after box of food, supplies, drugs and equipment down a line of volunteers next to the dangerously hot engines of the jet. Within 30 minutes the massive amounts of medical supplies and food were unloaded onto the tarmac. Our fellow volunteers boarded their plane to return home, their lives forever changed. Mine was about to be too.


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By Jennifer Browning

Now, just like Bernard Hopkins, you too can be a part of the team when you purchase your Project Medishare Haiti Earthquake Relief Team T-shirts.

Earlier this month, Hopkins showed his SAVE HAITI pride during his fight with Roy Jones, Jr. at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

While training that day, Hopkins sported a Project Medishare wristband and his Project Medishare Earthquake Relief T-shirt. Hopkins won won the 12-round fight by unanimous decision.

Now you too can proudly wear your Project Medishare green, and help us continue our fight to help Haiti through this time of need.

T-shirts are $25, and are currently available in M, L, and XL. They can be purchased online here.

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A mother waits outside a Project Medishare clinic in Casse located in the Central Plateau. In light of maternal mortality rates, Project Medishare is focusing on women and children's health through the Community Health Program. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

In Haiti, the high rate of maternal mortality remains a challenge. Haiti’s statistics regarding maternal mortality are among the highest in the Caribbean: 1 out of every 37 female deaths is linked to a high-risk pregnancy. Within Haiti, the Central Plateau has the highest maternal mortality rates of all.

Project Medishare has been continually working toward decreasing the maternal mortality rate in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Construction of our new Maternal Health Center was completed at the end of December.  Thanks to the Greig Family, who completely funded the construction, women in the Central Plateau are closer to having access to a full package of women’s health services including reproductive health education, family planning, along with HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. Currently, we are still in need of funding to provide necessary equipment for the Maternal Health Center before it can become operational.

In light of these maternal mortality rates, Project Medishare is focusing on women and children’s health. Through the Community Health Program, our local medical staff provides vaccinations, as well as iron for all women between 15-49 years old, targeting pregnant women. In 2009, Project Medishare provided complete vaccination coverage to 2,175 pregnant women and to 2,718 women between 14-49 years of age.

Since the beginning of our Community Health Program in 2003, our local medical staff has also reached out to pregnant women to see that they receive pre-natal care. And between 2003 and 2009, Project Medishare increased the number of pre-natal visits for pregnant women from no pre-natal visits to an average of three visits for each woman, ensuring a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.

Among other things Project Medishare  does with women within the Community Health Program, each local Community Health Agent holds a monthly  “Mother’s Club” meeting. During these meetings, the Community Health Agent educates and discusses specific subjects with the women such as family planning, parenting, child abuse, schooling of children, hygiene and nutrition (health maintenance), and home vegetable gardening to name a few.

Darline and Martine moved to Casse with their younger sister and their two children two weeks after the earthquake. They came to the Central Plateau to live with their stepfather who is providing them shelter. These sisters and their children receive healthcare services from the Community Health Program. Project Medishare's population in the Central Plateau has expanded since the earthquake. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

With the recent migration of earthquake victims from Port-au-Prince, Project Medishare’s population in Thomonde has increased by 29 percent. In Marmont, our population increased by 18 percent. This increase places a strain on our Community Health Program which was already financially stressed before the earthquake.

This Mother’s Day we ask that you honor the women we serve in the Central Plateau by making a donation to help us continue improving healthcare services to women. For each gift of $25, we will send a Mother’s Day card to a special woman in your life, letting her know a donation has been made in her honor.

What a great way to honor a special woman in your life by donating towards the improvement of women’s health.The women of Haiti will appreciate your thoughtful gift, which will allow us to continue our important work and help women survive to raise healthy children.

Honor your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, stepmother, aunt, sister, or friend with a gift of $25 to Project Medishare. Your contribution will help us continue improving healthcare for women and children in rural Haiti while making a difference by helping develop healthy mothers in Haiti.

This year Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9. To ensure that your note is mailed on time, we must receive your donation by Wednesday, April, 28. Click here to make your donation now. Once you have donated, email Project Medishare at info@projectmedishare.org with the address(es) of those you are honoring so they may receive their special Mother’s Day card.

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By Jennifer Browning

Project Medishare is working to sustain our long-term commitment to our relief efforts in Miami. In order to minimize costs, we are transitioning our flight schedule to once a week.

Beginning May 1, all volunteer flights will arrive and leave from the Port-au-Prince airport on Saturdays only. Monday, April 26 will be the last Monday flight.

For those who have not signed up, but are interested in volunteering, please register at: https://secure.med.miami.edu/volunteer_for_haiti. Please keep in mind that it may be a while before you are called upon to be deployed to the hospital. As as we have already transitioned from strictly providing critical care towards trauma and rehabilitation, we have a greater need for specialized medical volunteers.

The minimum number of days volunteers would be deployed is eight.  Anything beyond that would be determined by the need and the Chief Medical Officer.

Volunteers should be aware that Haiti is headed into the rainy season. The field hospital has already seen many wet evenings. It is advised that among other items, that volunteers pack a poncho, boots, plenty of socks, and mosquito nets to go over your cot in the sleeping quarters.

It is recommended volunteers see that all appropriate vaccinations are updated, and that volunteers speak to their doctor about the appropriate prophylaxis for malaria prevention. Volunteers can check MD Travel Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention sites for clarification on which vaccinations are currently necessary for Haiti.

To date, Project Medishare has had over 1500 volunteers donate their time and expertise towards our relief efforts in Haiti. We thank everyone who has taken the time to help our neighbors in Haiti.

Should you have any questions regarding volunteering, please contact Project Medishare at info@projectmedishare.org.

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By Jane Hays Boehm, RN

Project Medishare was accepting my Registered Nurse skills and all I had to do is arrive at Miami Airport 4 a.m. on a Saturday. Three of my friends were with me so it began like a vacation adventure.  Glasses of wine, good food, laughing comparing our malaria meds, nets and boots. It wasn’t until we flew low over the devastation of the earthquake – ravaged country that the serious mission of our trip descended and quieted our beings.

The crush of humanity at the Port-au-Prince Airport, the smell of charcoal fires mingled with garbage, the increase in humidity and the intensity of the sun beating down as we were transported in open trucks down bumpy roads, brought us a new reality which we would share and work in for the next week.

On arrival at the Project Medishare field hospital, which consisted of a collection of some very large tents, 200 feet from the airport runway, we received our army cot, badge and job assignment. We were given the rules and briefly informed of the food (MREs), water and safety requirements for the week and a tour which included a neonate unit (the only one in Haiti) Operating Rooms (24/7 availability) and a triage area treating hundreds of patients a day.  There was also a large medical/surgical tent full of patients lying inches apart on army cots 12” from the ground, a wound care tent for the constant daily dressings and a pediatric tent which also housed the ICU, Neonate unit, Operating Room, Pharmacy and Laboratory which I had volunteered to work in, with a Pathologist Charley.

The Lab, astounded me in its ability to function despite numerous interruptions by orphaned babies needing to be held or ride in our chair, Doctors, nurses and helpers amazed at seeing the clinical findings of malaria, tuberculosis, sickle cell and parasitic diseases under a microscope and just the business of our hospital. We were able to produce ABGs, CBCs, BMPs, HIV, pregnancy results and type blood within an hour except when the machines overheated and had to spend time cooling in the freezer. The fact that there was electric outlets and refrigeration (blood transfusion ability) made us a popular spot for the laptop and cell phone crowd.

Amid the sounds of crying babies, jets and helicopters ebbing and flowing around us, the noise level would rise with excitement as food was distributed twice a day to patients and the Haitian workers. The sounds of singing to God would quiet us as more and more voices were added and a visiting Pastor would hold a service in Creole.

The daily stories that formed this patchwork of humanity into a family of unforgettable memories, was effecting every one of us, from the smiling supply tent old guys to the first time young volunteers who at first appeared dazed but quickly evolved into the sought after know it alls. The story of the mother found under the rubble after four days with her two baby girls still alive in her arms, the babies left in dumpsters only to be loved by rescuers and adopted by families with open arms and hearts, the constant influx of paraplegics stoic and uncomplaining, just happy it seemed to be alive. The mother who was separated from her family for 5 weeks then reunited thanks to tireless efforts by social workers.  The dead being taken out in the moonlight with workers in white gowns, the isolation tents with active tuberculosis patients, the army personal with there guns almost reaching the ground helping any way they can, and back to do it day after day with order and respectfulness.

This is what my first disaster nursing relief trip showed me, that no matter who we are and where we come from, we have a uniting human ability to want to alleviate peoples pain and will go to almost any end to do so. To the planners, the donors, the organizers, and the people that appear from all corners of the earth to help, thank you for your response and I am so grateful to have joined you in such worthy cause.

* Jane Hays Boehm, RN has been an ICU nurse for 27 years. She volunteered at Project Medishare’s field hospital between March 6-13.

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