Jennifer Lang, Program Manager, September 26th 2011
This past week, the Haiti team was joined by a group of 7 Physical Therapists affiliated with the University of Scranton. Comprised of professors, former students, alumni, and colleagues, the team included varying specialties such as Pediatrics, Orthotics, and Wound Care which were all utilized to address the varied needs of the population in Southern Haiti.
Therapist Barbara leading Foyer residents in “Senior-cise” Program
Foyer residents stretching to the beat
Jen stretching out a young patient at Ile a Vache Orphanage
The team visited Hope for Haiti’s Infirmary Saint Etienne and conducted wound care training in collaboration with Hope for Haiti’s doctors and nurses. The visit to the Infirmary served to inform them of the challenges of the provision of healthcare in Haiti, especially in comparison to neighboring facilities such as the General Hospital of Les Cayes.
Such challenges often include lack of material resources. The Clinic and Orphanage at Ile a Vache are a perfect example of the difficulties posed by inadequate infrastructure and distance. Run by Sister Flora Banchette, the healthcare facility is the only option for the island’s poorest residents. It currently houses 22 abandoned handicapped children and was able to respond to a cholera outbreak earlier in the season. Despite the Sister’s diligence, stocking the pharmacy, hiring qualified and motivated staff, and maintaining the facility all threaten the quality of care. The team provided occupational and physical therapy for children who are often confined to their wheelchairs and offered continuing education to the orphanage’s staff. After participating in the therapy, Sister Flora thanked the group and expressed her desire to start a more comprehensive program with a live-in intern to train the staff. The 70-year old nun continues to dream of a better future for her community despite their hardships.
The Team poses with Sr. Flora after a hard day of work
Therapist Karen participates in art activity with Foyer resident
Three specialties consult on a case Ile a Vache
The potential in Sister Flora’s dream is exemplified by the care given on the mainland at Missionaries of Charity in Cayes. Due to their extensive network worldwide and the personal commitment of many of the staff members, Sister Guadeloupe has created a comprehensive physical therapy program for her orphaned children. With over 60 handicapped residents, the facility includes a sensory integration room, specialized tools to care for the individual ailments, and general instruments such as Therapy Balls and tables for stretching. The team was impressed by the level of care given at the facility, rivaling some of the best they’ve seen in the U.S.! Each child receives some level of therapy which includes daily stretching of the muscles to help increase flexibility and develop strength. The team was able to share active therapy techniques to encourage the staff to give the children more independence and increase fine motor skills by taking walks or playing with shaving cream.
After the shaving cream activity, Sister Guadeloupe remarked on the ingenuity of the Physical Team members to adapting the strategies they use in their home facilities to the challenges of Haiti. “Next time,” she mused, “the children will use mangoes!”
Jessica Jean-Francois, Program Manager, September 9th 2011
This month, Hope for Haiti Community Health Workers (CHWs) have been holding numerous meetings in the communities they serve. These meetings are to spread useful information about illness prevention methods to their neighbors and their families. Hope for Haiti CHWs, who generally work in 12 of our partner schools, are spending the summer helping community members evade the chronic illnesses plaguing their communities. They have chosen 4 themes that best fit their community’s needs and are holding informational sessions that inform participants of the signs, treatment and prevention methods for these common illnesses.
The Hope for Haiti Public Health program has now reached its 4th module in a 6-module program and these meetings provide a great opportunity for community health workers to implement the lessons they’ve mastered in the schools into the community. In Grenodière, participants were relieved to receive caution about misinformation regarding Malaria medication dosages. In Ravine Sable, caretakers were shocked to hear about the potential dangers of consuming unrefrigerated left-over food. Community members learned how to clean water by boiling it and ways to maintain a clean home with very little means. These tips and life lessons will last in Hope for Haiti’s partner communities and will hopefully be passed on throughout generations. Our CHWs are equipping members of their communities to make smarter decisions when it comes to nutrition, hygiene and healthcare. This program helps illustrate how education is a powerful resource, especially when it allows families to better protect their loved ones.
Jennifer Lang, Program Manager, September 7th 2011
Hope for Haiti is proud to announce a new program as part of our Community Development Initiatives. Two of Hope for Haiti’s long-term partnership communities, Ravine Sable and Tête Source of the South’s rural Aquin Department, will benefit from a new push towards sustainability in holistic development.
Building upon Hope for Haiti’s established partnerships in Education and Public Health, the Sustainable Communities program kicked off with a formal needs assessment. A community meeting led by the school directors at each site used a democratic process to identify qualitative needs, including increased access to healthcare, flood prevention, and better roads. The next step to address the identified needs is a quantitative assessment, through a household survey on the Progress Out of Poverty Index (PPI).
Developed by Grameen Foundation in partnership with the Consultative Group for the Alleviation of Poverty (CGAP) and adopted internationally, the PPI survey measures both individual households’ current poverty level and the progression of poverty over time in a community. The PPI uses objective standards – such as the material of the house’s roof, any ownership of livestock, and the number of children enrolled in school. Hope for Haiti’s implementation of the PPI will allow us to measure our partner communities’ poverty levels today in relation to the rest of Haiti and to the world. Plus, the results can be used in future years to gauge Hope for Haiti’s overall impact.
Our PPI survey implementation will begin on September 12th. Twenty survey enumerators will travel to over 450 households to administer the PPI. Using a curriculum developed in partnership with Fonkoze, Haiti’s largest microfinance institution, and the internationally renowned Grameen Foundation, twenty leaders from the pilot communities were trained on how to conduct the PPI in a uniform and consistent manner. Techniques range from de-mystifying the interview by using conversational strategies instead of direct questions to visibly verifying responses by walking around the home.
Facilitated by Fonkoze Social Impact Monitor Figaro Peterson and Hope for Haiti Program Manager Jessica Jean-Francois, questions from participants focused on guaranteeing the honesty and validity of the survey. As Mr. Peterson summarized, “The survey results will be used to help not just the school but also the community overall. The PPI survey will tell us about the people of Ravine Sable and Tête Source today and tomorrow.”
Hope for Haiti would like to thank GoDaddy.com for making this survey possible and for helping to empower both communities with the training and tools to greater invest in themselves and in their families.
*Photo Credit: Ryan Olsen
Click here to read the full article
We work to improve the quality of life for the Haitian people, particularly children.