Haiti

Haiti Emergency Response | State University School of Nursing
| Sustainable Neonatal Education | Haitian Pediatric Association | News

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Haiti Emergency Response

Early January 2010 earthquake relief and Early 2011 Cholera

Initially coordinating with AMDA International, which specializes in emergency relief, Rose Charities US worked with AMDA Canada to help send emergency orthopedic surgical teams to St Marc and Gonaives. Personnel came also from Columbia, Bolivia, India and Japan. Within several weeks a second initiative was commenced, in this case to L’Hôpital de la Communauté Haïtienne in Port au Prince, sending pediatric teams both from B.C. Children’s Hospital and other centers on Vancouver Island, from mainland B.C., and from Alberta.  Generous support was given particularly from the B.C. Lower Mainland Sikh Temples and support groups.  In total (both surgical and pediatric), 11 teams were sent from the period some 4 days after the quake to May 2010.

AMDA followed up its surgical initiative by sending a prosthetic team to help with the terrible problem of crush injury amputations while Rose Charities moved its focus to nursing.  The quake had completely destroyed the state nursing school in Port au Prince killing some 40 trainee nurses.  So Rose Charities efforts since May have focused on the re-establishment of this facility with sending textbooks, equipment, and nurse trainers.  See Nursing Education below for the details of this project and it’s partner project to provide continuing education to Haitian graduate nurses.

Rose Charities has pooled resources with Health Frontiers www.healthfrontiers.org (http://www NULL.healthfrontiers NULL.org/) , a highly respected and experienced Minnesota based Health Organization which runs projects in Laos, Malawi and other centers. Sharing a local office and project coordination center, Health Frontiers is concentrating on the re-establishment of pediatric physician services. Rose Charities is not primarily a disaster relief organization but will engage in such activities where and when the organizers feel they can be of assistance. Focus, however, is always wherever possible to ensure involvement extends long term assistance, not to simply carry out immediate assistance and then leave.  In the case of Haiti, the commitment will continue to re-establish and upgrade nursing, particularly pediatric nursing training and the provision of competent locally managed mother and child care, into the future.

In January and February 2011, Rose Charities supported two teams with AMDA (Association of Medical Doctors of Asia) sent to work at a cholera treatment centre in Fonds des Negres in central, south-west Haiti.

State University School of Nursing

During the earthquake the state university School of Nursing (L’Ecole Nationale des Infirmières de Port au Prince) building collapsed, burying the 2nd and 3rd year students. 93 students were rescued but 74 students and staff were killed and the school was completely destroyed. Our visiting Rose Charities nurses met the director of the school and discovered that the surviving students badly needed help. Despite the trauma and loss of their friends, they wanted to get back to school and finish their education. Many needed trauma counseling and all needed textbooks and supplies.  The school currently has three tents to use as classrooms supplied by UNICEF but needed teaching equipment.  Fortunately the director of the school was able to arrange grief counseling for the surviving students.

Rose Charities’ first task was to find nursing textbooks written in French. With the help of the Nursing School at the University of Montreal we were able to send 2 shipments of new textbooks.  Next, Rose Charities undertook to provide the supplies to re-open the school’s teaching laboratory where students receive hands on training and are able to practice their clinical skills.  With Health Frontiers (a highly respected and experienced Minnesota based Health Organization which runs projects in Laos, Malawi and other centers), we organized and sent a 40 ft container of educational equipment for this teaching laboratory that was donated and purchased for the school. Five teaching mannequins were also donated by Laerdal and shipped to the school.

Sustainable Neonatal Education

Karen Schafer & Dr. Emmeline Lerebours

One of the Haitian pediatricians (Emmeline Lerebours) working with our relief workers at the Haitian Community Hospital, L’Hôpital de la Communauté Haïtienne, asked for support related to pediatric and neonatal education so health care workers in Haiti can improve health care and decrease the morbidity and mortality rate for infants and children. A subcommittee of Rose Charities was formed in the spring of 2010 to develop a neonatal course in collaboration with key members of the Haitian Ministry of Health, administrators from two universities, and administrators/staff from three hospitals within Port-au-Prince.

Based on the needs assessment from discussions with these key collaborators in Haiti, a basic neonatal nursing and resuscitation course was developed.  Neonatal educator Karen Schafer from B.C. Children’s and Women’s Health Centre returned to Port Au Prince in October of 2010 to provide the first course along with neonatal nurses Berni Koppe, also from B.C., and Fernande Charles from Jacksonville, Florida (who was also the translator as she was born and raised in Haiti). Based on the feedback from the other collaborators and evaluations provided by the 23 students (nurses, state nursing school professors and nursing students), this course was a tremendous success!

Karen and another team will be returning in the spring of 2011 to teach the course to a different group with the assistance of Haitian nurses and nursing school professors who attended the first course. One of the main goals is to support and facilitate this project in a sustainable way so the Haitians can teach the program independently and ensure it continues to meet their learning needs with occasional support as needed. In this way, not only can we help develop and support the education and skills of health care workers in Haiti, but we are able to improve health care and enhance the quality of life for infants in Haiti who may not otherwise survive.

Our long term vision is to continue in this fashion if our approach is successful.  Success will be measured in a number of ways, partly from feedback from the Haitians but also by assessing for sustainability.  We hope to return once or twice a year to support the Haitians in this process and to build on the education provided.  The nurses have asked that we continue to come in person to provide support.  We currently have funding for two more visits and are actively seeking further funding to continue our project. We are looking for French/English fluent nurse/physician neonatal educators who can teach courses such at the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) and Acute Care of at-Risk Newborns (ACoRN).

Haitian Pediatric Association

Before the earthquake Haiti trained its own pediatricians in a joint program with the America Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Since the earthquake the country lost many of its pediatricians and the program stopped. Rose Charities has been involved in rebuilding this program in partnership with the Haitian Pediatric Association and the AAP by sending pediatric nurses to assist in teaching the pediatric residents.

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