Haiti Mission

Purpose

The Haiti Mission Team (HMT) conducts and supports health care and other projects in the Léogâne and Jacmel areas of Haiti. The goal is not simply to deliver health care and related services, but also to empower and support Haitians to meet their own needs. Members have developed long range, sustainable mission partnerships with Hôpital Ste. Croix (Holy Cross Hospital), the Faculté des Sciences Infirmières de l'Université Episcopale d'Haïti (FSIL nursing school) and Pazapa, a center for children with special needs.

Who Should Join Us – YOU!

  • Anyone who wants to experience a deep and caring ministry for the poor or sick
  • Health care professionals (but you don’t have to be a health care professional)
  • Mission-minded people who help in ancillary roles (handyman, clinic intake, etc.)
  • You don’t have to travel to Haiti to make a difference; we need you here to support our partners in Haiti!!

Contact: Rosemarie Rowney, chair, at rrowney@comcast.net

Team Activities

There are yearly mission trips. There is also extensive involvement by Team members on the Pazapa Board, the Haiti Nursing Foundation Board and the FSIL Governing Board.

History

This group was founded in 1999 in cooperation with the Medical Benevolence Foundation, the largest and oldest of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly validated mission support groups, to provide opportunities for members to carry out Jesus Christ’s commission to heal the sick. The group chose Haiti as its focus because Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and its proximity to the US makes travel relatively quick and inexpensive. Initial activities were centered at Holy Cross Hospital (HSC) in Léogâne, Haiti with mobile health clinics and outreach to nearby villages. A further need was identified to improve nursing care in the hospital, and the HSC Medical Director asked for help starting a nursing school. Members of First Presbyterian–Ann Arbor helped found the Haiti Nursing Foundation to promote the advancement of nursing in Haiti, with a special emphasis on the FSIL Nursing School (https://www.haitinursing.org) which opened in 2005.

The story of finding a dean for the nursing school is a religious one. While Ruth Barnard was searching for a dean for the new nursing school, Hilda Alcindor, a Haitian-educated nurse working in Miami Beach, was praying in her Roman Catholic church, asking how she could help her "mother", i.e. her country. When she went to her car her phone rang; her Haitian nurse friend told her about the dean position she had seen advertised for the new Haitian nursing school; Hilda applied; Ruth and the school board were impressed and quickly hired her; Hilda has been the Dean of the school since it opened. The mission work of HMMT is a concerted effort between Episcopalian, Presbyterians, and Catholics, under God.

The Pazapa Center for Children with Special Needs (http://pazapa.org), the third component of the team's work, is a school for children who are deaf, disabled or developmentally delayed.

The hospital and the nursing school are located in Léogâne which is 30 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince. Léogâne was close to the epicenter of the disastrous earthquake that occurred in January, 2010. The hospital and Pazapa were both seriously damaged, but the FSIL nursing school stood and became an emergency operations center.

There is a continued lack of health care and need for education of health professionals, especially competent well-trained nurses. The poverty, morbidity, mortality and lack of education are striking reminders of the needs of the country. The nursing school is expanding to provide programs in midwifery and a masters in public health.

The people that we work with receive the following benefits from our presence:

  • Mobile health clinics to nearby villages
  • Access to hospital, pharmaceutical and dental services
  • Referrals to other Haitian health care providers
  • Scholarships for nursing school students
  • Operational funds for FSIL
  • Spiritual support and prayers
  • Anti-seizure drugs for Pazapa children
  • Disaster assistance

Spiritual Impact

The hospital and school of nursing were founded by Presbyterians and closely coordinated with the Medical Benevolence Foundation. There is a covenant between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti to work together to help the people of Haiti. Margie Van Meter, HMT member, frequently goes to Haiti to worship with the people there, and to encourage their relationship with Jesus. She wants the spiritual life of the nursing students to be a formal part of the nursing school. She also meets with the priests of the Episcopal Diocese. The spirituality and perseverance of Haitians remind Team members of their blessings and the nature of their work as a reflection of Jesus Christ.

Medical Mission Trip: November 2 - 9, 2013

An Excerpt from the Team Leader Report

Ten MMTF team members traveled to Hopital Ste Croix (HSC),Leogane, Haiti on Nov 2 to provide mobile medical clinics, work and perform surgery at the hospital, and visit FSIL and Darbonne. Trip members include Lisa Kerr Johnson, PharmD, RN; Leader, Bill Boggs, coleader, Jennifer Griggs, MD, Jessica Bensenhaver, MD, Mark Lindley, MD, Julie Shea, CRNA, Suzanne Fleming, MPH, Courtney Hanna, MPH, Paul Shea, MPH and Jessi Elder, MA. Our team of medical professionals was joined at HSC by Haitian dentist, Dr. Emmanuel Bastien, DDS, and Milo, an agente Sante to make up our mobile clinic team. Paule-niseStinfil, DantaBien-Aime and other FSIL students were invaluable additions to our surgical team to coordinate and care for the surgical patients post-op and assist with anesthesia. We added our own anesthesia team this trip and anesthesia agents and equipment to use and enrich HSC and our partner's ability to operate after we had gone.

In summary, many of our health care programs proceeded to new levels during the week with a variety of professionals and nonprofessionals contributing. We traveled to villages on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday during the week to see patients in rural mobile medical clinics and worked at HSC on Wednesday and Friday in the hospital clinic system with our Haitian colleagues and counterparts seeing patients. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday surgery was performed on patients seen earlier in the week in clinic and anesthesia provided to both our surgeon and two Haitian surgeons during their operating room cases. We provided medical care to 516 patients: 344 in primary care in mobile clinics + 64 dental patients treated for tooth decay and abscess, 3 patients at the general hospital in Port-au-Prince (PaP) evaluated for mastectomy and continuing oncologic care and 105 patients treated at HSC. 21 surgeries were done at HSC- 9 major and 12 minor. We treated 329 adults and 187 children. Ground work was laid at FSIL for a long term women's health study with faculty. Preoperative teaching was videotaped for the mastectomy patients to use in future cases

Thank you to the members of the First Pres congregation and mission committee for your continued donations, prayers and support of the Haiti Mission Team. Thanks for your prayers-we felt them and were blessed to be a blessing to the Haitian people all week. Thank you to Bill Boggs for serving as the trip coleader and thank you to the Mission Team!! Thank you to World Medical Relief for donation of operating room and anesthesia equipment.

**To view the full report, read Haiti-Medical-Mission-November-2013.pdf.

Questions?

Rosemarie Rowney, chair, at rrowney@comcast.net