Believe it or not, even with so much to be done in Grand-Bois, ServeHAITI and its volunteers have made incredible progress. Learn about some of our efforts.
In the 200 square mile area of Grand-Bois, there’s only one place to get medical attention–the St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Health Center.
For years, ServeHAITI’s visiting clinical teams offered desperately needed health care inside the St. Pierre Catholic church. That changed in 2005 when the free-standing St. Vincent de Paul Health Center was opened– staffed by a full-time medical doctor and staff.
As word spread, the health center quickly drew more and more patients. A much-needed second story was added in 2009. The clinic now consists of patient care areas on the ground floor as well as office/residential spaces and a large community meeting room on the second floor.
Improvements continue to be made. By 2011 a kitchen was added. Other new additions include a wind generator to supplement the center’s diesel power, an x-ray machine and sonogram and an incinerator for medical waste.
As a result, the SVDP Health Center has evolved into an important hub of activity for not just the individual medical care in the region but also for social and community programs. These programs include the nutrition program, the mother-baby project and a cholera treatment center.
Primary and Acute Medical Care
More than 800 patients a month arrive at the health center by foot, donkey, handcart, motorbike, and truck.
We’re now able to offer primary care services for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes; and, sadly, malnutrition.
Acute care services include an inpatient ward for the care of a variety of illnesses such as pneumonia, heart failure, diarrheal related diseases, and injuries.
Expectant and post-partum mothers and their babies now enjoy their own private labor and delivery ward. An electrocardiogram machine (EKG) was delivered to the Health Center in March 2008; and, with contributions from Sacred Heart Church in Atlanta, an ultrasound machine was purchased and put to use for the first time in August 2009. Radiography was added in 2010.
While the health center is not equipped as an emergency room, our medical staff often is challenged by severely ill or injured patients with nowhere else to turn.
ServeHAITI’s vision is to help Grand-Bois become a healthy community of healthy people.
We’re dedicated to — and working toward — the goals of community development, public education, disease prevention, and modern care for individual’s with a variety of health issues. This vision is achieved through the application of evidence-based measures — but as always, we’re guided by the demands of the people of Grand-Bois.
Public health programming was kicked into high gear with the PEPFAR-NPI program funded via USAID from 2006-2010, and the legacy of that program lives on through the work of an on-site social worker and community health workers in the field.
Cholera Treatment Center
The cholera epidemic struck Grand-Bois in October 2010 and still continues. The SVDP health center has seen thousands of cholera patients. We’ve saved innumerable lives through direct patient care and education about sanitation and hygiene.
With help from Haiti’s Ministry of Health, we erected a cholera tent (officially a cholera treatment center or CTU) on the clinic grounds. We’ve also opened two satellite CTUs in distant villages hit hardest by the epidemic. (For the latest information, see Cholera Update from Dr. Charmaine Lewis, U.S. Medical Director).
By a community survey conducted shortly after the January 2010 earthquake, we learned that Grand-Bois is the home to over 2,000 malnourished children. At the Health Center we see more and more children admitted in severe states of dehydration, anemia, edema and weakness.
The U.S.-based ServeHAITI Medical Team selects medications for a formulary and provides these essential medicines to the Health Center. Some 60% to 70% of the medications for the health center are purchased at a greatly reduced price. The remainder are donated. ServeHAITI offers unlimited prescription medicines to our patients.
ServeHAITI’s goal is to offer a more developed perinatal program. This will include three prenatal visits, obstetric ultrasound, delivery, and postpartum check for mother and baby.
We strive to have an open avenue of communication with the local midwives to encourage referral to the Health Center for high-risk pregnancies or lengthy or complicated deliveries. Women are encouraged to come to the SVDP health center for delivery by receiving a “Welcome Home Baby” basket which contains essential needs to care for their newborn at home.
Community Radio Station
Thanks to funding provided by the PEPFAR-NPI grant, in 2010 we launched our very own community radio station – ServeHAITI 100.7 FM. We broadcast from a booth housed in the health center.
Programming includes public health messages, educational programming, local news, and discussions with political and religious leaders. The radio has proved to be an invaluable tool in disseminating health messages throughout the community.
Dental Missions and Public Dental Health–
Several U.S. volunteers, led by Dr. Rich Rodgers and Dr. Elizabeth Lense, comprise the ServeHAITI Dental Mission team. Each year, one or two volunteer trips are dedicated to dental missions. Dental professionals with various backgrounds travel to Grand Bois to provide dental services to Health Center patients and community residents.
Continuing Medical Education
The SVDP health center employs only Haitian staff, led by our Medical Director, Dr. Leopold Bourgouin.
ServeHAITI is proud to state that this amazing team does not rely on American volunteer nurses and physicians for day-to-day operations. Working together, our clinical and support staff make a tremendous impact on morbidity and mortality for over 12,000 patients annually. As the Health Center expands and they consult more patients, the need for continued medical education (CME) increases. Quality of care is very important to our Medical Director and staff.