Haiti: May 2015
This was my second mission with Hands Up for Haiti. Each day, Monday through Friday, we were in a different clinic, in a different village in the north shore of Haiti, or in Shada, the slums of Cap Haitien. The doctors and nurse practitioner saw hundreds of patients, mostly children, at each one. Scabies and other skin conditions, pneumonia and other infections, pinworms, malaria...an endless stream of illness resulting from poverty and the lack of basic public health measures such as clean water, adequate food, and mosquito nets. Most of the nurses provided crowd control and dispensed prepackaged medications. I worked with the pharmacy tech and also independently, dispensing medications and providing instruction in how and when and how much. On three separate occasion, I was asked by a doctor to consult with a breastfeeding dyad. I adjusted latch, assessed for adequate suck and swallow, and taught the mother ways to increase her milk supply. I also assisted with vital signs and documentation, and gave an antibiotic injection to a very malnourished child (supposedly IM, but the child was truly just skin and bone).
Haiti cannot easily be fixed, but with each encounter there we made an individual smile, feel better, and know someone cared. And we all learned something about ourselves, our fortitude, our compassion...indeed, the reason we became healthcare providers.