After the Flooding, Capacity Strengthening Continues
Dear friends of Konbit Sante,
As I enter my final week in Cap-Haitien before returning for an extended stay in January, I am writing with a brief update on our work and the conditions of the communities that our partner facilities serve.
Many (if not all) of you know about the damage caused in southern Haiti by Hurricane Matthew. Significantly less coverage has been given to the heavy rains that have hit northern Haiti, particularly the Cap-Haitien area over the past two weeks. Although not as devastating as the hurricane, this year’s rainy season has been much more severe and sustained than in past seasons. Families have lost their homes and their belongings, streets have been flooded, businesses and schools have closed, and many people have been injured or killed as a result of the rain and flooding. Close friends, including staff, have been badly affected by the rain.
There is no doubt that Haiti is feeling the impact of climate change and it will continue to do so for a long time to come. The destruction caused by strong weather patterns in the past two months underscores the value and urgency of our work: a strong health system can effectively respond to the needs of communities, families, and individuals in real time and save lives.
Despite the rain, our work continues. This week Konbit Sante hosted four volunteers from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center - neonatologist Dr. Vic Herson, pediatric critical care intensivist Dr. Adam Silverman, pediatric critical care nurse Tracey Proulx, and respiratory therapist Lisa LeBon. The team conducted a training on bubble CPAP for nearly 30 doctors, residents, interns, and nurses at Justinian University Hospital and HCBH. CPAP is a respiratory devise that delivers oxygen to babies and infants, particularly preterm and low birth weight babies, with respiratory distress. Improved knowledge and skills on the use of CPAP should contribute to a reduction of neonatal deaths at JUH. Equally important, the training ensures that a cadre of health professionals in Northern Haiti can transmit this knowledge to future generations of nurses and doctors.
Konbit Sante is committed to standing by and supporting our colleagues, partners, and friends in Haiti for the long-term, no matter the condition. I hope you will too.