The IWISH mission of self-sustainability has been increasingly “testing the waters” of technical training and equipment donation in Haiti, where corruption and theft is the rule rather than the exception.  The three ultrasound machines donated previously are a huge asset to the training and care of the Haitian people.

Those machines are portable machines that serve an important purpose in that they are mobile and relatively indestructible (as we witnessed by the fact that two of the three survived the collapses of building around them). We are now searching for donors of more state-of–the-art ultrasound machines that can be used at the training facility in a stable location for perinatal screening purposes.

In April, Dr. Stryker and Dr. Benoit received the Humanitarian Hero Award at the 14th Annual American Red Cross Everyday Heroes Celebration for work done in Haiti immediately after the earthquake. Link to Article

In May, Dr. Cephora Anglade had just graduated from her OBGYN residency at Port Au Prince General Hospital, one of two OBGYN training programs in Haiti.  She had been such an asset to our mission clinics after the quake, that IWISH felt it was time to bring her to the U.S. to become acquainted with the equipment that is being shipped to the hospital and physicians.  She spent several weeks “fine-tuning” her gynecologic and obstetrical sonographic skills with our ultrasound technicians at Womens OBGYN, PC and then worked side by side with our perinatologists, Drs. Wechter and Cherukuri learning the art of anatomic survey ultrasound.  Haitian women have an extraordinarily high rate of hydrocephalus and spina bifida due to the lack of folate in their diet.  Here in the U.S., women are instructed to take folate-containing prenatal vitamins prior to conception to prevent these birth defects.  During her training with Drs. Cherukuri and Wechter, Dr. Anglade was able to use ultrasound to identify fetuses with birth defects, who may need specialized care when they are born.  Unfortunately, most Haitian women deliver their babies in their make-shift homes or tents.  If birth defects are identified prenatally that may cause problems for the mother in labor, this is vital information.

In addition to ultrasound training, Dr. Anglade was provided with temporary hospital privileges with the assistance of attorneys and staff at the Kitch, Drutchas Firm and their colleagues.   At the hospital, she was able to see and learn hysteroscopic and laparoscopic techniques in our operating rooms that will be extremely valuable once we have completed the upgrading of the operating room at PAP General.  The scopes are there, we are now awaiting the donation of insufflation and illumination devices, as well as safe anesthesia equipment necessary for laparoscopic evaluation.  Hysteroscopic techniques can be performed under local anesthesia.

During her hospital experience, she was also exposed to our state-of-the-art obstetrical equipment.  Currently at PAP General, there is no fetal monitoring available other than a fetal stethoscope and the hand-held dopplers than were donated by IWISH several years ago.  Interestingly, shortly after Dr. Anglade left, it became necessary for Covenant to upgrade their fetal monitoring machines due to computer incompatibility.  Ten of those machines were donated by Covenant and shipped by IWISH to PAP General to help upgrade their fetal surveillance techniques.  Two large neonatal warmers from our neonatal unit were also donated and included in the shipment for sick or premature babies.

Dr. Anglade and I also took a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit Doug and Dennis at the Rays of Hope for Haiti donation center.  There, we were able to purchase used office equipment to replace the equipment lost by Dr. Honore when his office collapsed on him during the quake. We also acquired equipment and furnishings for Dr. Anglade’s new office (including an air conditioner donated by Rays of Hope because Dr. Anglade is now pregnant and not able to easily tolerate the extremes of heat while she is seeing patients).  As requested by Dr. Francois  (Internal Medicine physican) and Dr. Jean (pediatrician), defibrillators and pediatric cardiac monitoring equipment were also provided.  “Bair Huggers” were also sent for children who are very ill and unable to sustain their body temperature despite the heat in Haiti. It is challenging “shopping” for Haitian hospitals and physicians, knowing that electricity is a highly undependable commodity.  Ultimately, I would love IWISH to be able to purchase solar technology for our schools, doctors’ offices and the hospital, since sun is in unlimited supply in Haiti.  In the past, security of the solar technology has been an issue, but hopefully the new president will be able to address this during his tenure.

Dr. Honore is in New Orleans for a year on a Fulbright exchange.  He will be learning laparoscopic and hysteroscopic techniques and IWISH is hoping to sponsor him and one of his colleagues to attend a colposcopic conference, since a colposcope was shipped to him and Dr. Anglade for training and care of women in their offices.

Gail McGee and the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty continue their efforts at educating and providing medical care in Les Bours, Les Plaines and the Jeremie and Okay tent cities.   Pharmaceutical medications, when available and not cost-prohibitive are being purchased from Haitian pharmacists to help make them self-sustaining.  Dr. Anglade is helping with the obstetric and gynecologic issues and Haitian nurses have been trained to provide care for the people in the absence of U.S. care providers.  Baby-steps are being made, but HELP is still needed by the NGOs attempting to educate, care for, equip and train the Haitians to be able to care for themselves (which is ultimately what they want).

If all goes according to plan, in June,  photographer and social worker Nichol Krupp and I will be joining medical students from Wayne State University with the Rays of Hope personnel on the island of La Gonave, off the coast of Haiti for a medical mission.  Thereafter,  we plan to take  a short jaunt to PAP General to visit the hospital Dr. Honore and Dr. Anglade to assure that the equipment is coming together for them.

Once the shipped equipment transitions through customs, the 2013 trip will include one of our Biomed Technicians to help install the donated equipment in the hospital and offices.  One goal will be to teach the Haitian biomedical technicians how to repair the equipment themselves, utilizing the extra parts that were provided with the shipped equipment. We will also travel back to LaGonave to visit with our missionary friends as the hospital should be nearly completed by then. Please see the “Stories From the Field” section of our website for more details of the June 2012 trip.

In January 2013, Dr. Stryker received the Michigan State Medical Society Foundation’s Community Service Award.

For now, our current needs are:

  • Functional ultrasound machines with printers  (or, preferably, DVD capability  since the paper will run out faster than the DVDs….. but either is greatly appreciated).
  • Colposcopes for use in the gynecologic clinics at PAP General and in the doctor’s offices.
  • LEEP machines for the prevention of cervical cancer, which is also a major problem in Haiti.
  • Functional  general anesthesia machines
  • Large autoclave for PAP General to sterilize their surgical instruments, since they are currently sending their instruments to an outside facility, with an unfortunate attrition of their valuable instruments.
  • Laparoscopic insufflation equipment and illumination instruments.
  • Solar panels for use at the hospital or offices.
  • Generators for use when the electricity is unreliable.
  • Monetary donations to offset the cost of training conferences, procurement of necessary technology and shipping of the medical equipment.