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Archive for April, 2011

Mother’s Day 2011 is almost here! This is a very special Mother’s Day for us at Project Medishare as we open our first maternal health center in Marmont in the Central Plateau of Haiti. With your help, this year we would like to pay tribute to the expectant mothers that we are going to serve in the Central Plateau. Mother’s Day is a great occasion for you to honor and thank the woman who gave you life, continues to give you love and looks after you in any way that she can. You can do your part to help expectant mothers in the Central Plateau by sponsoring one woman for just $25 dollars. This small donation will go a long way by providing pre-natal and post-natal care for the mother and infant.

Expectant mothers in Haiti's Central Plateau. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

In Haiti, and particularly in the Central Plateau, the high rate of maternal mortality remains a challenge. Haiti has the top maternal mortality rate in the Western hemisphere and 80% of women in Haiti deliver their newborns at home without any skilled caregivers. One out of every 37 female deaths in Haiti is linked to high-risk pregnancy. Project Medishare has been working tirelessly toward decreasing these statistics.

Construction of our new maternal health center in Marmont is complete and the staff has been hired. Thanks to the Greig Family, who generously financed the construction, expectant Mothers in the Central Plateau will now have access to lifesaving health services. The center will offer access to quality child delivery services free of charge including comprehensive pre-natal and post-natal care. We expect that the center will deliver between 900-1,200 babies per year and care for thousands more.

Project Medishare internist, Dr. Gerarde Mondesir said, “It is essential for women in Marmont to have a center in their community where they can go to give birth.” She hopes that by having a maternal health center nearby, fewer women give birth at home, thereby decreasing the maternal mortality rate in the community. The new maternal health center is equipped with a full laboratory, incubators, and examination and observation rooms thanks to a generous equipment donation provided by our partner organization, MedShare. With your donation, we will be able to continue to treat thousands of women, maintain the maternal health center and decrease preventable deaths of mothers during childbirth.

What better way to honor a special mother in your life than by donating towards the improved health of a future mother in Haiti? This Mother’s Day we ask that you help us honor the women we serve in the Central Plateau by making a donation of $25. For each gift of $25, we will be able to serve one more mother with pre and post-natal education and care this year.  Please help us reach our goal of 1,200 gifts to ensure that we are able to care for each and every one of the mothers who so desperately need it. You can donate directly by clicking here!

The maternal health center is scheduled to open the first week of May, just in time for many Haitian mothers’ first Mother’s Day. Thank you for helping make this Mother’s Day special for expectant mothers in the Central Plateau of Haiti!

A healthy newborn baby at a Project Medishare facility. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

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The first annual Run for Relief 5K to benefit Project Medishare for Haiti is taking place on Sunday, May 15th, 2011. The run is being organized by local Miami high school student, Laura Simko. The purpose of the race is “to renew the awareness of the help that is needed only 681 miles off of our coast and to raise money for Project Medishare to continue its efforts” Simko said.

The race start time is 7:30am and it will begin and end at Peacock Park in Coconut Grove, FL. Age Divisions range from 8 & under to 70 & over. The Pre-Registration Fee is $25 and the Raceday Registration fee is $30. A commemorative T-shirt will be given to all participants featuring the Run for Relief 5K logo. To register for the Race and for additional information, please visit http://runforrelief5k.org/

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Edith, twenty-four years old, was riding as a passenger in a tap tap when a barrel fell off of a truck and struck her, injuring her C6/C7 vertebrae and causing paralysis. She could not move her legs, she was not able to sit-up or balance on her own and she could barely move her arms. She arrived and was admitted to the Project Medishare field hospital after first visiting another hospital in Haiti. When the organization moved to Hospital Bernard Mevs in the summer of 2010, Edith subsequently moved as well in order to continue treatment and obtain further critical care.

Edith completed her rehabilitation program and returned to her home. Unfortunately, her return home was short-lived and only lasted for one month. On a follow-up visit to Edith, she was found without her wheelchair and living outside. She had developed a severe wound living in those conditions and was immediately brought back to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare.

Marty, a physical therapist with extensive experience in spinal cord injury rehabilitation was at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare for a six-week volunteer stint. When they first met, Edith had begun preparing for her discharge back home. She was leaving the hospital with the mindset that she would constantly require assistance from someone else in order to be mobile. Marty did not share this notion; she believed that Edith had the potential to push her own wheelchair.

Edith said that Marty “was crazy” to think Edith could push her own chair. She really did not think she had the strength or function in her arms and hands to hold the wheel and push her chair. Marty explained to her that by using different muscles she would be able to do so. After nearly two weeks of daily strengthening exercises, Edith was ready to try pushing her chair by herself. Marty found rubber tubing to attach to the rim of the wheels to help Edith’s hands grip the wheel. Once everything was set it was time for Edith to see herself the way Marty saw her; strong and with limitless possibilities.

Using her shoulder muscles instead of her arms and squeezing in on the wheels, Edith was able to push the wheel. With a smile on her face, Edith said that she was “very tired and very happy”. She really did not believe that she would be able to push herself on her own but surprised herself and was very excited by what she was able to accomplish. Marty of course was extremely proud and happy for Edith who now has the ability to move around her own home and not be dependent on others.

Below is footage of Edith pushing her wheelchair by herself for the very first time.

 
Special thanks to Rachel Belt of Project Medishare in Haiti for providing the video and details of Edith’s story and to Xavi Manrique for assisting in the editing of the footage.

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Jean Michel is a 16 year-old boy who was admitted to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare with abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve, known medically as aortic stenosis. He was very sick and placed in the Intensive Care Unit. An Echocardiography diagnostic test was performed. Jean Michel’s test found that he has an Ejection Fraction of 26%. To put this in perspective, generally, a normal Ejection Fraction is greater than 50%. The only treatment for Jean Michel’s condition is Cardiac Surgery.

After multiple attempts to find a hospital for Jean Michel he was accepted this past Wednesday to Mercy Medical Center St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville, TN. With the assistance of Clint Doiron, Michelle Roberts, Chris Keylon, John Swartz, The Chadasha Foundation, Mercy Hospital and the Haitian Parole department, Jean Michel was flown to Tennessee on Sunday.

Before being admitted to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare  and subsequently flown to Mercy Hospital, Jean Michel had been living at Ophelinat Ministere Dieu Aime Tous les Enfants du Monde. With the help of his Aunt, the staff at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare arranged a surprise party for Jean Michel on Saturday with all of his friends from the orphanage. The children entered the hospital singing, dancing and playing instruments. Jean Michel was brought outside and his friends greeted him by placing flowers on and around him. They arranged a concert for him that lasted two hours. Before being hospitalized, he was in a singing group and also played the drum. When the children began to play, Jean Michel wheeled over, asked for a drum and began to play along with his friends.

After the concert, the staff at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare hosted a party for Jean Michel and all 30 children from the orphanage with cake, snacks and drinks. Prior to leaving, all of the children and staff prayed for Jean Michel. That evening, Jean Michel told Brittany Crush, Chief Nursing Officer, that he was so happy to see all of his friends again and that he had missed them. Before going to sleep on Saturday night, he told Brittany that he had a really good day and was excited that he was going to be able to get his heart fixed.

Below is a brief video of the uplifting surprise concert for Jean Michel.

Chief Nursing Officer, Brittany Crush and Jean Michel

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Port Au Prince, Haiti (Thursday, April 14, 2011) – In recognition of the ongoing commitment of the American Red Cross to Haiti, an American Red Cross National Board of Governors member and her husband have agreed to donate funds to construct a lifesaving 5 bed pediatric respiratory unit and purchase a Digital X-ray Machine for Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This 5 bed pediatric respiratory unit will be built as an addition to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit currently operating at the hospital, and will provide a sterile environment to house the most critically ill children and infants who remain on ventilator support.

“After the catastrophic earthquake in January, we treated tens of thousands of Haitians; and continue today to treat as many critically ill and injured patients as any major metropolitan medical center in the United States,” said Dr. Barth Green, the Co-Founder and President of Project Medishare. Green continued, “This generous donation will enable the hospital to continue the lifesaving work and patient care for the most critically ill and injured adults, infants and children in Haiti. We are so grateful to the American Red Cross and to this family foundation for their support.”

Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the general public, and it remains the only Critical Care and Trauma Hospital in Haiti. In the last six months alone thanks to the support of the American Red Cross grant, this hospital has been able to treat over 50,000 patients and perform thousands of lifesaving operations. Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare employs over 200 Haitian staff including allied healthcare professionals and support staff. They are joined by a dozen full time international staff that provide specialized services, including an on-the-job mentoring program to build capacity in the healthcare sector in Haiti.

A young patient in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

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Wilfred Macena

Twenty-six year old Wilfred Macena was at work welding in a shop when the catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010. Like so many others, Wilfred was trapped under the rubble. He was able to free himself but not without escaping injury. Wilfred damaged his right leg when it was crushed by falling debris.

Wilfred stayed at home with his injured leg for three days before finally getting to Adventist Hospital. He waited at Adventist Hospital for four days but ended up leaving out of frustration as he was never seen by a doctor and went to the neighboring Dominican Republic. Seven days after being injured in the earthquake, Wilfred had an above the knee amputation on his right leg in the Dominican Republic. At first he was very hesitant about the procedure. He asked the doctor what his prognosis would be following the amputation and was told that he would be able to walk again with a prosthetic leg which made him feel comfortable with the procedure.

On April 1, 2010, Wilfred went to the Project Medishare field hospital to have his leg fitted for a prosthetic. Upon his return to the hospital on April 3, the staff explained to Wilfred how to walk with the prosthetic and within five minutes he was up and running! Dr. Barth A. Green, co-founder of Project Medishare, was in the tent and asked Wilfred if he wanted a job with Project Medishare. Wilfred currently works in the Prosthetics and Orthotics laboratory and clinic at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. He takes measurements for prosthetic limbs and knows how to fix them. He has learned how to speak and understand English while working for Project Medishare. Wilfred is also a mentor to anyone that is facing amputation and for those being fitted for prosthetics. He is the perfect example that life does go on even after amputation and is a constant source of encouragement and inspiration. He is playing soccer again with the Project Medishare Team Zaryen Amputee Soccer team. He has a one and a half year old and is expecting his second child in July.

Wilfred’s spirit is incomparable. It takes two hours to get from his tent home to work every day by taking three tap taps. He repeats the same long, treacherous trip to get home each night. He says that he is extremely grateful to Project Medishare because if he did not work there he would not be able to work as he lost everything, including his welding tools, in the earthquake. It is fair to say that the feeling is mutual; Project Medishare is very grateful to have Wilfred as part of our team.

Wilfred Macena at work in the Prosthetics and Orthotics laboratory and clinic at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

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Chefs With a Purpose Grand Tasting and Silent Auction to benefit Project Medishare for Haiti and International Firefighters Assistance, held at the InterContinental Miami on March 30th, was a resounding success! The event featured over 20 tasting stations which each offered a delicious signature menu dish by the participating top chefs. The evening’s silent auction had incredible items ranging from luxury hotel stays, unique dining experiences, Tiffany & Co. jewelry, Haitian art and unique sports memorabilia. There was a new addition this year as a beautiful Haitian art exhibit by Michele Frisch, Haiti’s leading art curator and collector, was displayed in the lobby. The featured Haitian art was from the Galerie Marassa collection. The evening was hosted by Pierre Garçon, Wide Receiver for the Indianapolis Colts and emceed by DJ Griot of 99 Jamz. WPLG Channel 10 Miami evening news anchor, Calvin Hughes, was honored for his important contributions to Haiti’s recovery, advancing awareness and fundraising efforts. Guests were serenaded with the music of renowned Haitian performers Mushy Widmaier and sultry singer Phyllisia Ross.

The participating restaurants included: Table 40, Two Chefs Restaurant, Sra. Martinez, The Forge, Mama Mia, Gigi’s Noodle Bar, Bond Street, Chophouse Miami, House of Caviar & Fine Foods, Abokado, Moca Café, Chef Creole, CookiePursonality, San Ignacio College Culinary Program, Chef George Catering, Rational Cooking Solutions, Ana Paz Cakes, Diego’s Tapas y Vinos, Dadou’s Kitchen, Por Fin Restaurant & Lounge, Scalina Ristorante.

We would like to extend a very special thank you to InterContinental Miami for once again hosting this incredible evening to raise awareness and the much needed funds for Project Medishare Haiti.

Lt. Nate Lasseur, Founder & President of IFA; Robert Hill, InterContinental Miami General Manager; Dr. Barth Green, Co-Founder of Project Medishare for Haiti; and Calvin Hughes, WPLG News Anchor at Chefs With a Purpose

Haitian art from the Galerie Marassa collection exhibit by Michele Frisch, Haiti’s leading art curator and collector

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