“Over the years, in [Haiti and] so many places I’ve been, I’ve seen International Medical Corps right on the front lines with their sleeves rolled up, working in conditions that are hard to imagine.” – CNN’s Anderson Cooper
Immediately following the earthquake, International Medical Corps set up an initial base of operations at the Hopital de Universite d’Etat d’Haiti (HUEH), the largest hospital in Port-au-Prince, where volunteer doctors and nurses fought around the clock to save lives and heal the injured. More than 16,000 people received care through our work at HUEH. At the peak, our volunteer doctors and nurses saw as many as 1,000 patients a day and trained Haitian counterparts.
Within two weeks, we established 13 primary health clinics in displacement camps and earthquake-affected areas throughout Haiti. We mobilized 408 medical volunteers across the United States, including emergency room, intensive care, and pediatric doctors and nurses as well as mental health experts and infectious disease specialists. We trained Haitians during the emergency in order to start building capacity for the long-term. Our logistics and in-kind donation partners helped provide critical medicines, supplies, and equipment. We quickly established a logistics base in the Dominican Republic, procured supplies locally, and worked with partners who had supplies pre-positioned in warehouses in Haiti.
When cholera broke out 9 months after the quake, International Medical Corps immediately dispatched medical teams to the affected region, treating thousands of patients through a network of cholera treatment centers and clinics, and educating more than 11,600 others on cholera prevention.
Training & Long-Term Development
“Do you plan on living here the rest of your life and triaging, or would you rather train people so when you leave you know that at least you handed the torch over to the next group and the system we all worked so hard to initiate won’t break down?” -Gabriela McAdoo, Emergency Room Nurse, International Medical Corps Volunteer
Throughout our first year in Haiti, International Medical Corps’ physicians worked with our Haitian medical staff, local organizations, and the Haitian health ministry to identify gaps in knowledge and skills, develop training programs and provide on-the-job support to improve quality of care throughout the existing health care infrastructure.
We trained primary health care staff on triage, drug and pharmacy management, infection control, STI/HIV management, disease surveillance and outbreak preparedness, vaccinations, nutrition, and mental health diagnosis and case management. We also laid the groundwork for a sweeping Continuing Medical Education (CME) program, starting with sessions on emergency obstetrics in conjunction with the Haitian Medical Societies. Future CME seminars are being planned for early 2011 and will include topics considered most needed by Haiti’s Ministry of Health and medical professional groups, including building capacity for disaster preparedness and risk reduction.
“I’m beginning to really see how we can make an impact on improving mental health in the region through our training and participation in clinical work. This is all thanks to the enthusiasm of our Haitian health hosts.” -Dr. Peter Hughes, Psychiatrist
International Medical Corps makes mental health care a priority in its emergency relief efforts by addressing the immediate psychosocial needs of communities struck by disaster and offering help to those with pre-existing mental health disorders. Following the earthquake in Haiti, we have been prioritizing the health psychological development of children through programs that work with mothers, caretakers and children’s residential centers to create safe environments where children can learn, play and grow. International Medical Corps has also recruited and trained 26 workers, including baby tent monitors, institutional support monitors and facilitators to provide psychosocial services in camps, children’s residential centers and earthquake-affected areas throughout Haiti. In addition 630 doctors and nurses attended weekly mental health trainings.
Our protection programs focus on Haiti’s most vulnerable groups – orphans and at-risk children, victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and the physically disadvantaged and mentally ill. We trained doctors, nurses, and other health workers on SGBV awareness prevention and referral. We also trained 150 caretakers at children’s residential centers to improve children’s well-being, safety, and development – in addition to training 2,800 community members and 60 health personnel from the health ministry on disaster risk reduction
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
Without clean water and sanitation, public health cannot be achieved. As a result, International Medical Corps incorporates water and sanitation into our community-based programs so that public health is not only possible, but sustainable – especially in devastated health systems like in Haiti. Since the earthquake, we have constructed latrines and showers so Haitians living in tent cities can maintain hygiene conditions. We have also distributed hygiene kits and bars of soap to needy families. In addition, our local water and sanitation experts provide hygiene and sanitation education throughout Haiti.
As cholera is a waterborne illness, since the outbreak, our teams have been distributing water purification tablets and educating locals on proper hygiene methods to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Cholera & Disease Prevention
In response to a confirmed outbreak of cholera in Haiti, International Medical Corps immediately mobilized health teams and has set up cholera treatment centers. The organization is also delivering critical cholera supplies and educating communities.
With modeling exercises predicting an estimated 400,000 cases in the next 12 months and as many of half of those cases occurring in the next three months, International Medical Corps is working to expand its cholera response operations with new cholera treatment centers (CTC’s), oral rehydration points (ORP’s), and mobile clinics to cover additional underserved areas. International Medical Corps is currently running seven CTC’s in Artibonite and Les Cayes, where Cholera Emergency Response Teams have provided medical care to more than 7,578 cholera patients.
“The disease continues to spread at an alarming rate and we will continue to see a rise in cases as it spreads throughout the country,” says Dr. Jojo Cangao, International Medical Corps medical director in Haiti. “International Medical Corps will work to meet the increased case load through additional CTC’s while expanding our cholera education activities to reach new communities.”
The organization has already implemented CTC’s at hospitals in Verrettes, St. Michel, and Ennery in Artibonite region as well as two sites in Les Cayes, where patients are being administered IV solution, oral rehydration salts, and doxycycline to treat cholera and given water purification tablets. International Medical Corps plans to expand these services to Nippes and Archaie.
Its expansion strategy also includes a network of ORP’s, smaller treatment centers that will be positioned in hard-to-reach areas, as well as three mobile medical units that will serve extremely remote places in Artibonite cut off by rains, flooding, and landslides. These mobile medical teams will also train local medical staff, deliver supplies, and transport acute patients to hospitals, when needed.
International Medical Corps established oral rehydration points in all of its network of 13 primary health care clinics in and around Port-au-Prince, Petit Goave, Leogane, and Jacmel. Through these clinics, International Medical Corps will administer oral rehydration salts and will refer and transfer patients to higher level care as needed, making sure that severely dehydrated patients are given IV line before referring them.
When the outbreak was first confirmed, International Medical Corps trained all of its clinic staff in cholera prevention, identification, and treatment. These trainings have now been delivered to its team of 29 doctors and 95 nurses working in primary health clinics and Cholera Treatment Centers throughout Haiti.
In addition to medical staff training, International Medical Corps has also reached approximately 11,600 people in churches, schools, camps, orphanages, and communities with information on cholera and continues to expand its cholera education campaign through its network of 320 Community Health Workers as well as other social networks such as the Boy Scout leadership, religious congregations, and community organizations, including teacher associations.Infectious disease specialists have also been deployed and are now working with hospitals in Artibonite on medical waste management and infection control.
Plans for the Future
International Medical Corps will continue to make medical care, mental health care, clean water, sanitation, and other critical services accessible to the displaced and those most affected by the Haiti earthquake. We will expand our network of Cholera Treatment Centers and integrated clean water and sanitation activities and community education campaigns to save as many lives as possible in the face of this outbreak.
We are working to decentralize health services outside of Port-au-Prince – as per health ministry plans – including in Les Cayes to the south and Cap Haitian to the north. In addition, we are investing in Haiti’s medical professionals, in cooperation with the ministry, providing continuing medical education opportunities as well as accreditation and certification. We will continue to develop Haiti’s mental health infrastructure, training health professionals to identify, treat, and refer mental health cases. We also are working to build the capacity of at-risk communities to prepare and respond to disasters with their own resources.
WHAT YOUR SUPPORT MADE POSSIBLE
Since 22 hours after the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, our emergency teams were on the ground delivering vital health care services, medicines and supplies. One year later, we are still there, operating clinics, training locals and providing emergency cholera response. Your generous support has made the following possible in 2010:
• 156,607 patient consultations
• $16.2M distributed medicines, supplies, services & equipment donated by our in-kind partners
• 408 medical volunteers from top-tier universities and medical centers worldwide
• 1,100 trained and employed Haitian health care workers
• 630 doctors and nurses attended weekly mental health trainings
• 13 clinics ongoing
• Over 25,000 people educated on health topics
• 1,064 individuals identified and treated for mental disorders
• Over 20,000 children screened for malnutrition
• 275 latrines and 82 showers constructed
• 3,959 family hygiene kits distributed
• 21,654 bars of soap distributed
• 7 cholera treatment centers
• Over 3,575 patients treated in cholera treatment centers
• 11,603 Haitians educated on cholera prevention