Everytime I read an account from someone who’s been to Haiti, the author says “You can’t even imagine what it’s like. I can’t even describe it.” And I agree with them – there’s no way I can imagine what a million people, homeless, look like. And as for what it feels like – to be there – I can’t imagine that: you want to sleep, change clothes, dress your kids, have a quiet moment? You have a tent. You need food or water? There’s no refrigerator, no cabinets, limited access to everything. And if you get sick…or your kid gets sick…where do you go?
There are several agencies answering this question. These are the people who have been on the ground in Haiti for over 4 months now, trying as best they can to deal with the medical crises the earthquake has left behind. Haiti had little by way of good health care to begin with – but now – adding in horrible things like: an uptick in sexual assaults, the proximity of people – making communicable diseases such a threat, all the people still recovering from injuries they suffered in the earthquake, the destruction of so much of what health infratructure already existed.
If youre looking for “tried and true” , reliable, “on the ground” agencies working for health in Haiti, if you’re looking to help a Haitian mom or dad answer the question “Where do I take my sick child” – there are these groups:
These people are everywhere. And thank God. You can read a report of all the work they’ve been doing in Haiti here. The page also works as a good summary of the situation on the ground – what these experts see as the upcoming problems. Since January, they have treated 137,000 people.
They are on Facebook, by the way, and post a lot of updates. Just last week they had a live streaming about Haiti. So, if youre interested in keeping updated on Haiti’s medical situation without having to go ferret it out for yourself, why not get it delivered right to your newsfeed?
PARNTERS IN HEALTH/ZANMI LASANTE
Partners In Heath is a well-known, Boston and Haiti based medical non-profit which has a long history of being “on the ground” in Haiti. They are highly trusted. Here’s the quick overview of what they do. I also reccommend checkingout their blog where co-founder and PIH director Ophelia Dahl writes about walking through a displaced persons camp in Haiti and also gives an overview of the impact of the work PIH is doing. She also has a good intro statement here describing their work.
Here’s a cool article about some Boston-area kids -who did a fundraiser for PIH— the most amazing part was that PIH said the $4700 the kids raised could feed 40 families — for a year! 5th graders can feed 40 families for a year. People can make a difference.
Their co-founder just gave the commencement address at Suffolk University.
PIH is on FB, FYI….LOL.
I came across this group when I coincidentallybookmarked an article about Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles working for Haiti and an article about a local guy from the Cape working for Haiti and realized they were working for the same agency.
Project Medishare is a group founded by two University of Miami doctors in 1994. Their motto is “dedicated to improving health in Haiti.’ Further, from their website: “Project Medishare has forged partnerships with physicians and allied health professionals with a strong belief in social justice and that everyone has the right to quality healthcare and development services.”
Among the things they are doing now are using their community health program to help quake victims who have moved out of Port-Au-Prince, running an amputee rehab program and helping to med-evac critical cases to the US. According to one estimate, they have treated 20K people since the quake. Awesome.
They’re on FB and have a blog, too, for people who want to keep in touch.
This is the article about the guy from the Cape — that’d be Cape Cod, MA. It’s from just a few days ago an is a very “on the ground” look at health care in Haiti right now. It’s amazing how huge the problems still are. It’s a really good, eye-opening article.
And this is the piece about Tejada. He’s from the Dominican Republic, right next door to Haiti, and is dedicated to helping there – as in, he’s been there, helping. The Orioles donated 25K to Medishare. That’s who he donates too, also. It may be against my Sox fan instincts but: Go O’s!
I also want to mention that Sean Penn has been appearing on CNN these days to talk about the work his organization, J/P Haitian Relief Organization, is doing in Haiti. If you check out their website, it sounds like they are doing quite a lot. A portion of this involves providing health care – like IVs, casts, pre-natal checkups – day-to-day things – in one of the tent cities. I know Penn has a rep for being a little wackadoo, but he and his crew seem to be taking care of some serious business in a very legit, up-and-up way. Check it out if you like.
Looking at this article, I really see the drop in the bucket philosophy alive and well. A lot of people helping with what they’ve got.