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Archive for the ‘cholera epidemic in Haiti’ Category

By Jennifer Browning

Vodou Saints: Tales of Life, Death and Resurrection for Haiti written by Project Medishare co-Founder Dr. Arthur Fournier is now available on your favorite e-book.

Dr. Fournier has written Project Medishare’s story, from the beginning through the earthquake and the recent cholera epidemic. In the process, Dr. Fournier provides inspiring stories of the courage and resilience of the Haitian people.

An account of Dr. Fournier’s travel through the earthquake-ravaged nation of Haiti, through Vodou Saints he shares lessons of life and death, courage and resilience as he joins with Haitians dealing with the aftermath of the world’s largest natural disaster. As he recounts stories of the special care needed for patients with AIDS, Dr. Fournier reveals a personal family tragedy that brings the story full circle.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Project Medishare for Haiti.

Find Vodou Saints for your favorite electronic reader below:

Amazon (Kindle)

Sony

Barnes&Nobles (NookBooks)

Also available on Google and through Apple iBooks.

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Vodou Saints: Tales of Life, Death and Resurrection for Haiti by Dr. Arthur Fournier will be available for Kindle, Nook, Sony and iPad February 21.

Vodou Saints: Tales of Life, Death and Resurrection for Haiti written by Project Medishare co-Founder Dr. Arthur Fournier will soon be available on your favorite e-book.

Dr. Fournier has written Project Medishare’s story, from the beginning through the earthquake and the recent cholera epidemic.In the process, Dr. Fournier provides inspiring stories of the courage and resilience of the Haitian people.

Vodou Saints: Tales of Life, Death and Resurrection for Haiti will be available for download on your favorite electronic reader February 21. All proceeds benefit Project Medishare.

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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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Video produced by Omar Vega.

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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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By Jennifer Browning

Miami’s Channel 7 reports on Haiti almost one year after a devastating 7.0 earthquake hit the tiny Caribbean country.

Hours after the earthquake Miami doctors and nurses volunteering with Project Medishare were among the first to respond to those in need.

A year later, Project Medishare continues to operate Haiti’s only critical care and trauma hospital in Haiti.

Click  here to see the full report.

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By Jennifer Browning
Project Medishare co-founder Dr. Arthur Fournier discusses cholera in Haiti in the Miami-Herald this week.

Dr. Fournier talks about how cholera is not another curse that Haiti must endure, but another consequence of man.

“Errors of omission and commission not just exacerbated the epidemic but also contributed to its cause and explosive spread,” Dr. Fournier says.

In the article Dr. Fournier also mentions how Project Medishare’s existing community health program in the Central Plateau placed our organization in an ideal position to respond to the epidemic.

Click here to read the full article.

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