Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Just a quick update. At this point my trip itinerary is full (which is just how I prefer it :) I'm really excited about the time in Pestel. Sister Fidelis and I have been working on setting up the right mix of meetings, and for those who are interested I've laid that out below.
I'm really hoping on this trip to come away with some concrete activities that I can then start promoting on their behalf. This will likely include, in my opinion, building more wells/cisterns, latrines, raising funds for desperately needed medicines and oral rehydration therapy. We shall see!
I'll let you know when I've posted new info on the site. And btw--if anyone has a better name than "Haiti Medical", that would be great. We don't have an 'organization'. That name is really just a descriptor for the site itself.
Friday--leave from Dulles with Pharah. She's the little girl with the enlarged head that Victor carried back with him on our January trip. She's ready to go back to her mom!
I'll meet up with Lynda Varner and her team (Halos Medical Mission) and visit their clinic. They will have spent some time up at Wings of Hope. She has been very gracious in finding meds for Wings of Hope (i.e. anti-seizure and deworming meds)
Saturday--meet Anderson (!), Odelin and his two friends at the airport to fly out to Jeremie. We'll then take a boat from Jeremie to Pestel (weather-permitting). In Pestel we'll meet up with Sister Fidelis who will introduce us to a few people. We may arrive in time for market which is held on Saturdays!
Sunday--After church we'll meet with a development group Sister Fidelis has been mentoring called Christians Progress Together. These are representatives from nearby villages. We'll get their thoughts on where we should go, and then lay out for them some of our plans and thoughts as well. Then, around 1pm, we'll be meeting with about 25 of the local leaders (including the Mayor, teachers, 'district' representatives') to have a town-hall type of meeting to discuss their overarching concerns for their people, and share with them some of our ideas.
Monday--we'll meet the school children and parents associated with Odelin's school in Pestel. I'll be giving them some drawings that kids did at our church's VBS recently. We'll then travel up in to the mountains to visit some communities.
Tuesday and Wednesday--we'll travel around to different communities (including some of the farther places) to meet-and-greet as well as to do a basic environmental survey of the area (i.e where are their water supplies, and how do they get the water back to their homes? How close are their latrines? Where do they put their garbage? How do they cook their food? etc). I'll be keeping track of GPS coordinates for some of this data to help with planning. We'll also be visiting two buildings that are currently being renovated for use as clinics.
Thursday--back to Jeremie-->then to PAP.
Friday--I'll spend the day at Wings of Hope clinic where I'll see some of the kids and see how well the home-grown electronic health record works from Haiti (it works fine here but... :)
So there you have it!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
One of my elderly patients (she's 95 and her husband is 96) made a profound statement today: "You need to be strong to get old." Her joints are worn down. Skin doesn't heal as quickly. Infections are bigger setbacks. Energy level is low.
So all-in-all I think this statement captured something important about the elderly: you need to be strong to get old.
You don't see too many old people in Haiti. Almost half (!) of the population is less than 14 years old. Only 3.5% make it beyond 65 (see CI World Factbook).
In Haiti as in the US, you need to be strong to be old.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
There is a very simple 'tool' called the Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) bracelet which was developed by Doctors without Borders. Basically, you wrap the paper measuring tool around the mid-arm of a child and determine whether or not he is malnourished, and if so, to what degree.
I want to make a bunch of these so that I can give them to the folks in Pestel so that we can begin to gather data about the degree of malnutrition. This will help us plan as we move forward.
I am hoping to find a solution that is both cheap and somewhat durable. So if you have any suggestions about how these might be made, please pass your ideas along to me! You can certainly email me (just scroll down once you're on the linked page)--that would be great.
Here is a link to the Doctor's Without Borders page with more information on the bracelet as well as a downloadable form to print these out for yourself.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
After MANY months of searching and after trying out MANY different free electronic records, my brother and I have finally settled on a surprisingly simple solution that we hope will work just as well as anything else we saw: Google spreadsheets. No kidding. When the spreadsheets first came out I thought it was a bit odd, but now that we've played around with it we've been able to come up with a fairly straightforward way for me (as medical director) to keep track of the kids' medical needs at Wings of Hope (in PAP, Haiti). The framework is now in place and I'm in the process of updating the records (a slow go). Hopefully, by the time I'm down in late June the record will be fairly complete so that I can see how it works from their end.
I'll admit that I didn't 'get' blogs until recently. Now I see how 'dynamic' the content can be, and it is a decent venue to get my more random thoughts and ideas out there. It also allows for some two-way communication with people who might have suggestions (like yourself!). So we will see how this goes!