Since 2004 Holy Redeemer has sponsored an annual medical mission to St. Jean du Sud. For many of the residents of St. Jean this is the only access to a doctor and medicines until the next medical mission. Patients frequently walk for hours arriving early in the morning and sometimes have to wait all day for their turn to be seen and then make the walk home. Some are carried on stretchers or beds to get to the clinic.
A team of doctors, nurses, dentists, and non-medical personnel operates a medical clinic which provides services to over 1600 Haitians. The team spends a week in Haiti and operates the clinic for four days from sunrise to sundown treating and providing medicines for a wide variety of illnesses such as gastro intestinal problems, hypertension, a wide variety of infections, diabetes, malaria, eye problems, wounds and nutritional deficiencies. In addition to the services provided by the medical doctors and nurses, the two dentists pull over 100 teeth each day. Unfortunately other types of dental treatment are unavailable due to the lack of modern equipment and dependable electric power.
Each year medicines and services worth well over $200,000 are provided free of charge. When necessary patients are referred to a hospital in Les Cayes, about an hour drive from St. Jean, and the cost of treatment is covered by the medical mission. In 2011, the hospital cost came to over $3000. The total cost of a mission trip varies from year to year, but on average is about $40,000. Individual team members pay for their own expenses. Contributions and fund raising activities such as trivia nights and pancake breakfasts pay for the remaining costs. Some of the medicines are purchased from national organizations which collect and distribute medicines to mission teams while Holy Redeemer parishioners and local hospitals donate some of the medicines and supplies.
For more information about the medical missions contact either Kathy Murphy-Baum or Harry Bahr at 961-0230.
St. Jean Medical Clinic
Over the past two years the Holy Redeemer twinning program has established a collaborative relationship with the government operated community clinic in St. Jean de Sud with the goal of sustainable health initiatives. In the Fall of 2010 the committee approved sending the clinic nurse manager a small monthly stipend to assist in purchasing meds and supplies for the clinic. The clinic is only able to purchase medicines through the patient fees paid for service. We also support the clinic with shipments of birthing kits, midwife kits, point of use lab test kits, glucose and urinalysis test strips. pregnancy tests, used exam tables, sterilizers, microscopes and other donated items. Patients seen in the yearly medical mission clinic are given needed medications and then encouraged to visit the community clinic for follow up on hypertension and diabetic management.
In 2009 Holy Redeemer Haiti committee hired a hydrologist to assess water quality and access. All water sources were deemed contaminated. In past years several NGOs (non-governmental agencies) and community leaders have unsuccessfully tried to improve water access. In 2011 the cholera epidemic intensified the urgency for clean water and sanitation. In discussions with the community clinic and local leaders the HR Haiti committee brought several Sawyer point of use water filters to be tried out in the community. These filters remove all harmful bacteria from the water. At present the cost of the filters for families is the main obstacle to further filter promotion. More discussion is needed on what works best.
In 2011 the St. Jean community was assessed for construction of a dry compost toilet structure. A private donor has provided funding for a public toilet construction by the organization Youthaiti, a non-profit community led program that promotes improved sanitation and agronomy education. The HR Haiti committee and the local Haiti community supports this initiative.