Caring for Children Whose Parents Can’t Pay

April 4, 2023

A note from Rony Saint Fleur, MD, Justinien University Hospital


After my residency at Justinien Hospital in 2003, the chief of the pediatric unit asked me to work with him, but I refused because I didn’t feel I had enough knowledge and confidence to be a good attending and make the changes I would like to make. So I chose to go to work at Hôpital Sacre Coeur de Milot, a wealthy American NGO hospital where I spent four years.

In 2008, when Konbit Sante said they wanted to support pediatrics, I decided it was a good time to come back. I always wanted to teach, and with Konbit Sante’s help, I felt there were things that we could change. Justinien Hospital is a public hospital with limited support from the government, and it is the only hospital in the area where poor people come to get care.

Even though it’s a challenge and there are frustrations, I always feel happy when kids get better. And I feel happy when I teach the residents. I love working with young people and feel I can make some change in them. There is no private hospital here where I can have that experience.

Without Konbit Sante, I couldn’t do what I have done. Without Konbit Sante, we cannot get a catheter quickly if we need one. Parents who can’t afford to pay can’t get the supplies and medicines they need for their children, but Konbit Sante helps with that. With Konbit Sante, we are always looking for ways to improve. Dr. Silverman and the other US physicians who collaborate with me help me have good outcomes from the residents. With this help, I show residents that they can make a real difference if they work at it.

This is a hospital that should have full support from the government, but of course, we don’t. Konbit Sante is the only partner we have who really knows and cares about our needs, even though they can’t do everything for us. Konbit Sante is the only organization that doesn’t come with its own plans but works with us on a plan and helps support that plan. If Konbit Sante goes, I won’t say we would have to close the unit, but it would be difficult to give care to the kids whose parents can’t pay.

— Rony Saint Fleur, MD, Justinien University Hospital


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A resident monitors a newborn in the pediatric unit at Justinien University Hospital.

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