Honduras: January 2020
Stepping off the plane in Cap Haïtien I was full of excitement and joy. Glad to have the opportunity to return to a country and people who have captured my heart on a previous global health trip. Even though I have been to various countries for medical trips, the excitement and anticipation never seems to fade.
After a rough year in Haiti due to protests and high gas prices, I was quietly assuming that there would be many changes from my last trip and not all of them good. However, at each clinic site we were still greeted by the Haitian people who were still just as friendly, open, patient, and engaging as they had been during my last visit. As we began seeing patients that week, I noticed that although many had not been seen in a long time by any type of medical care professional, some were still attending monthly clinics set up by the Hands Up For Haiti in-country team. This reminded me of why HUFH is such a special organization and a wonderful team to be a part of: the medical care does not leave when the US physicians and medical teams do.
For example, one clinic day I saw a 4-month-old whose mother had died when she was 2 months old. At that time, she had been placed on the medical Mamba program for malnutrition and did very well being taken off of it about a month later. However, during my exam I noted that she had abdominal distention and her arms looked very thin. Her grandmother stated that she was unable to feed her well during the past month as she did not have access to enough food. With the help of our in-country team I found out that they had been keeping tabs on her and she was already scheduled for an appointment the next week to be re-enrolled into the program.
It still amazes me the sheer volume of patients that we see at our clinics, from newborns to the elderly. Everyone (Haitians and Americans) working side by side to provide treatment to people who are lacking in basic medical care. Relying on visual diagnosis and clinical exam is challenging but also very rewarding. Providing reassurance, education, and a diagnosis exhilarating. I am extremely proud of the work that the team and I were able to do in Haiti. Knowing that HUFH is working year-round to make Haiti better in providing medical care, medical supplies, and education to midwives and RTKs it gives me hope that we truly are making a difference.