Archive for January, 2011

Marie Maude Pierre provides a cup of water for her 19-month-old daughter Daphta at the Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) in Mirebalias. Pierre said after just a few hours of receiving IV fluids Daphta already seemed to feel better. Project Medishare, in partnership with Partners in Health, is operating the CTC which has already treated over 10,000 patients since November. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Marie Maude Pierre arrived at the Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) in Mirebalias at 2 a.m. on a Thursday with her 19 month old daugher, Daphta.

Pierre said Daphta’s diarrhea started Wednesday morning, but seemed to get better during the day after she coerced her daughter to drink the Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) she had for emergencies just like this.

“At first I wasn’t really worried because I had ORS at home, so I mixed it with treated water,” Pierre said. “She wouldn’t drink it at first, but I finally got her to drink it.”

But during the evening, Daphta refused to drink the ORS and her symptoms worsened so Pierre, who lives in Grand Boucon, began the long walk to the CTC in Mirebalais so Daphta could receive treatment.

Aciane Devoinsin tries to comfort 2-year-old Yusmie. Devoinsin took a two hour journey in the middle of the night to get her daughter to the CTC from her village of Sarazin, near Las Cahobas. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Aciane Devoinsin tries to comfort 2-year-old Yusmie. Devoinsin took a two hour journey in the middle of the night to get her daughter to the CTC from her village of Sarazin, near Las Cahobas. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Pierre learned about cholera back in October. While shopping at the market, she received a text message on her phone from Digicel telling her there was a cholera outbreak along the Artibonite nearby. The text also explained what cholera was and what needed to be done to prevent and treat it.

“When I came home from the market, everyone was talking about cholera and how it was spreading very quickly and that a lot of people were infected already.”

After talking to people in the community, Pierre’s husband heard health agents were distributing aqua tabs and ORS nearby in Saut d’Eau.

After receiving treatment for over ten hours Daphta is already showing signs of progress.

“When we got here, they gave her the IV and now she is already looking better,” Pierre said. “Now she is willing to sit up and she is even smiling.”

When Aciane Devoinsin returned from the market, her older daughter told her that 2-year old Yusmie had diarrhea, by the middle of the night the vomiting began.

CTC staff spray their shoes with a high concentrated bleach solution to help avoid further spread of cholera. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

“I could tell that she was very tired and I worried that she wasn’t able to keep any fluids down,” Devoinsin said. “So I found a ride to come here.”

Even though Mirebalais is the closest CTC, it took Devoinsin two hours to get her daughter to the CTC from her village of Sarazin, near Las Cahobas.

“When we arrived the doctors put the IV in immediately. Yusmie was so weak when we got here, but now I can tell she is feeling better,” she said. “She wanted to play this morning. I am happy that at least my daughter is starting to feel better, and I am so thankful that there are people here who can help her.”

Both women said that they are taking precautions at home to treat all of the water before they use it for drinking or cooking, but it is difficult when a toddler is involved.

“I try to watch her and keep her hands clean,” Devoinsin said. “But she plays on the dirt floor, on the ground and I can’t carry her all day. I still continue to use the aqua tabs that were given to our family and everyone else has stayed healthy.”

Looking inside the acute care tent at the CTC operated in partnership by Project Medishare and Partners in Health, one might think that cholera is no longer an issue in Haiti. Mirebalais CTC administrator Almeus Techelet said until December the CTC was completely full.

“We had to double our capacity in order to treat everyone who came through the door,” Techelet said. “In January the flow of patients has lowered, and while we have less patients, we still have several people arrive each day with cholera.”

Techelet says the decrease in patients is due to education and prevention campaigns that were launched when cholera was discovered in October.

“People are more cautious now and they have learned to how to prevent getting cholera,” Techelet said. “This is why the patient flow has gone down. People now are taking more precautions about the water they use and drink, what they eat. They are more careful about preparing their food and also washing their hands.”

Dr. David Walton, the deputy chief of missions for Partners in Health, said the decreasing number of patients seen at the Mirebalais CTC is deceiving.

“It’s tricky because if you look right here at this cholera treatment center you would be deceived to think that cholera is getting better, but if you take a look at the places in the south there are reports of hundreds of people dying in the mountain sides and even in other cholera treatment centers and cholera treatment units,” Dr. Walton said. “This being one of the places where the epidemic started, we have sort of stabilized, but in many parts of the country they are just hitting that peak of cholera ravaging the countryside.”

In addition to more people following precautions, Dr. Walton said today more people are catching the disease earlier, which makes it easier for doctors to treat.

“Another thing we are seeing is a lot of people are coming earlier in the disease, so they get a little diarrhea and upset stomach and they get here well before they have the chance to develop severe cholera and severe dehydration,” he said. “So we are seeing people not necessarily in shock but a little bit earlier, which is good because it helps us resuscitate them. “

Dr. Walton explained that cholera hit St. Marc and Mirebalais the hardest first, so now these two places are stabilizing. And while the results at Mirebalais are positive, he said that doesn’t mean cholera is over in Haiti.

“It has been positive. You look at places like here…people live up there in the tops of those mountains. People live all over in there. You can’t see their houses from here but they are up there. How do you get the message to people up there? You have to get out, get to them and get the message to the people,” he said. “I think it has been really positive, but it’s only as effective as our ability to get those tools to the people.”

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By Jennifer Browning

The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund presented Project Medishare with a $25,000 check to assist with the on-going relief efforts at their game against the Atlanta Hawks on January 18. An initial $25,000 donation was presented to Project Medishare in Haiti in June 2010. Photo courtesy of Kelly Arison.

In observance of the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Miami HEAT honored the victims and the survivors of the catastrophe during their road games against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 12 and the Denver Nuggets on January 13.

During player warm ups, the Clippers and the Nuggets joined the HEAT in wearing special shooting shirts featuring a Save Haiti logo designed by South Florida artist Romero Britto.

When the HEAT returned to Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena last week at their game against the Atlanta Hawks, the team, through The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund presented Project Medishare with a $25,000 check to assist with the on-going relief efforts.

Thank you Miami HEAT, Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers for showing your support to Haiti and for Project Medishare’s ongoing relief efforts there!!

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By Jennifer Browning

Edwidge Danticat is joined Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in North Miami for a reading and discussion with contributing writers M.J. Fievre and Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel on Saturday, January 22. The event is presented in collaboration with MOCA and Project Medishare.

Haiti Noir is an original anthology featuring new stories by Danticat and others, set both before and after Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

The inimitable Danticat, one of the truly great contemporary writers, brings her talents as an editor to Haiti Noir, a timely volume featuring stories set both before and after the devastating earthquake.

This original noir anthology features brand-new stories by Danticat and a host of diverse writers, including Rodney Saint-Eloi, Madison Smartt Bell, Gary Victor, Yanick Lahens, Louis-Philipe Dalembert, Kettly Mars, Evelyne Trouillot, Katia Ulysse, Ibi Aanu Zoboi, Nadine Pinede, and others. While Haiti has a tragic history and continues to be one of the most destitute places on the planet, here, Danticat reveals that even while the subject matter remains dark, the caliber of Haitian writing is of the highest order.

MOCA is currently hosting an exhibition of 75 photographs taken by Bruce Weber from 2003 to 2010 titled, Haiti/Little Haiti. In his unique way, Weber has captured images of a dynamic, diverse and evolving community, bringing the Haitian neighborhoods of Miami to a wider international audience.

For more information, visit http://www.mocanomi.org.

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Miami’s WPLG Channel 10’s Calvin Hughes features Project Medishare’s work at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM).  The hospital is the only critical care facility in Haiti, and is continuing to make a difference one year after the devastating earthquake.

Click here to see the news clip.

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By Jennifer Browning

Today marks one year since a powerful earthquake devastated Haiti causing widespread death and destruction. That day, in less than 40 seconds, millions of lives were changed forever.

In less than 40 seconds, millions of peoples lives changed in Haiti after a 7.0 earthquake struck a year ago today.

Just 20 hours after the earthquake, Project Medishare volunteer doctors, nurses and emergency personnel touched down in Port-au-Prince. They were among the first to respond to the disaster. Over the past year more than 5,000 doctors and nurses have joined us in treating more than 75,000 patients.

While Haiti has faced a hurricane, flooding and cholera, Project Medishare has continued to stand by the Haitian people in our mission to improve medical services in Haiti. But things are worse here in Haiti today than they were a day after the earthquake.

After Project Medishare transitioned from the field hospital to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM), the hospital staff there have treated over 45,000 patients, provided over 10,000 emergency room visits and performed an estimated 200 surgeries each month.

Not only is HBMPM Haiti’s only critical care and trauma facility, it also continues to operate the only pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU/PICU) and spinal cord injury unit.

A Project Medishare nurse evaluates a child at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, currently Haiti's only critical care and trauma facility. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Through our Amputee Rehabilitation Program we have fitted over 200 children and adult patients with lifesaving prosthetic limbs. Thanks to the Knights of Columbus, who have joined us in our quest to provide prosthetic limbs to Haiti’s amputees, we will be able to provide prosthesis and therapy for children. As these children grow, we will be able to fit them with up to three prosthesis including two years of therapy.

Project Medishare’s training and education programs for HBMPM medical staff are also moving forward with a generous grant from the American Red Cross. Today University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine’s Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., and Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., are meeting here in Port-au-Prince with leaders from the American College of Surgeons international program and other universities to coordinate the education and training of critical care health professionals in Haiti.

Tomorrow, architectural plans that will double the 45 beds at HBMPM and add an education center to train Haitian health professionals in critical care will be finalized. This will help us achieve the long-term goal in making HBMPM and its Haitian medical staff self-sustainable.

Project Medishare’s existing Community Health Program continues to serve over 100,000 in the Central Plateau. Through this program community health agents have been essential in battling cholera in and around the community along the Artibonite River. Armed with bullhorns and packets of oral-rehydration therapy, as well as donations of bleach and soap, our teams initiated a community education campaign. Our community doctors and nurses are also working at the Cholera Treatment Center in Mirebalais where we have treated over 10,000 patients suffering from this disease.

Project Medishare community health nurse Wiseline Celestine uses a bullhorn to educate people in Thomonde about cholera. Project Medishare's health agents were vital in educating the people in order to prevent cholera in their communities. They are also conducting additional home visits since the epidemic occurred. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

In the coming months, Project Medishare will celebrate the opening of the Akamil Production Facility in Thomonde and the Maternal Health Center in Marmont.

The final pieces are being put in place to finalize the Akamil Facility. Ground breaking began June 2007 for the construction of the facility, but final construction and equipment installment was delayed after earthquake. When production begins, it will mean so much to rural Haiti and those Project Medishare serves in the commune of Thomonde.

Thanks to the Greig Family, who completely funded the construction of the Maternal Health Center, 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.

With the ongoing support of volunteers and friends around the world, Project Medishare has accomplished so much in the past year.

There is still critical need in Haiti today. Today, Project Medishare remembers those victims who perished or were injured in the earthquake.

To show your support Text “Save” to 501501 to donate $5 or click here to make an online gift to assist Project Medishare in continuing lifesaving work in Haiti.

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In observance of the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Miami HEAT will honor the victims and the survivors of the catastrophe during their road games against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 12 and the Denver Nuggets on January 13.

During player warm ups, the Clippers and the Nuggets will join the HEAT in wearing special shooting shirts featuring a Save Haiti logo designed by South Florida artist, Romero Britto. In addition, The HEAT coaching staff and broadcasting team will wear special Haiti awareness ribbons. All coaches and bench staff for the Clippers and the Nuggets will also wear the Haiti awareness ribbons.
When the HEAT returns to the AmericanAirlines Arena next week, the team will host a special presentation during their January 18 home game versus the Atlanta Hawks, which includes the following activities:
  • HEAT players will wear the special shooting shirt during warm ups.
  • The HEAT coaching staff and broadcasting team will wear the special Haiti awareness ribbons.
  • The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund will present Project Medishare with a $25,000 check to assist with the on-going relief efforts. An initial $25,000 donation was personally presented to Project Medishare in Haiti in June 2010 by a Miami HEAT contingent, which included HEAT Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, HEAT greats Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway and HEAT Play-By-Play Announcer, Eric Reid.
  • All Miami Hoops Gear locations—including the flagship store at AmericanAirlines Arena, the satellite store at Dolphin Mall and the online stores at MiamiHoopsGear.com and Facebook.com/MiamiHEAT—will sell special $5.00 rubber wristbands with proceeds benefiting Project Medishare, the non-profit organization founded by Dr. Barth Green and Dr. Arthur Fournier that provides life-saving medical care and community services to the people of Haiti.
  • A public service announcement featuring Dwyane Wade will air urging the public to make a $5.00 donation to Project Medishare by texting the word SAVE to 501501.
Since the earthquake hit, Project Medishare has spent $11 million of the $13 million donated funds including a multi-million dollar donation from Carnival Corporation, which has helped to serve over 180,000 critically ill patients in Haiti. Project Medishare is the only hospital operating a pediatric and neonatal ICU in Haiti. It is the only facility in Haiti with a critical care/trauma unit and the only facility with a spinal cord injury unit. With over 200 employees, the Project Medishare hospital is completely staffed by Haitian workers. The Project Medishare facility has performed over 3,000 surgeries and has fitted over 200 amputees with prosthetic limbs.

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