January 14, 2010
Update with information about Haiti posted by Ben Aiken in the MS4 forum:
School of Public Health Statement
"The Gillings School of Global Public Health has put together a website with links about the disaster in Haiti, relief organizations you can donate to, and other information. There is also a live Twitter feed you can view there. http://www.sph.unc.edu/disaster/earthquake_disaster_in_haiti_13371_8287.html.
UNC Student's Experience in Haiti:
Jennifer Nomides is a second year Master’s student in the Health Behavior and Health Education department. She has also completed three years of medical school at the UNC School of Medicine and will return to her fourth and final year in June upon completion of her MPH at the Gilling’s School of Global Public Health. Her desire to work in developing countries began to grow long before the decision to pursue a career in medicine and public health but it was after two months spent in Haiti after her first year of medical school when this particular country captured her heart. Her first experience in Haiti was in the summer of 2006 through Family Health Ministries, Inc in Durham. She spent a couple of months working in rural Haiti, up in the mountains of Fondwa doing research for an infant nutrition program. Since then she has returned approximately twice a year to work with various organizations, churches and orphanages, focusing mostly on running mobile clinics and construction projects in orphanages in Jacmel and Carrefour, two of the most severely hit areas by the earthquake. Ultimately her career goal and life’s passion is to live and work in Haiti full time as a family medicine physician and public health practitioner following residency. She has been able to contact most of her friends and the people she has worked with over the past few years in Haiti and everyone is doing fine but the devastation to the buildings and land is indescribable and heartbreaking.
Faith and Love in Action (http://www.faithandloveinaction.org/) supports the orphanages Jennifer works with. In addition, Jennifer’s mother has established an online donation site if you are interested in contributing directly to the orphanages Jennifer works with: http://www.branchcreek.org/helphaiti/."
Additional information about 3 organizations and a clothing drive
In regard to donations, let me put forth three recommendations, each of which I have been involved with in the past and therefore put forth with full confidence in their abilities to have an immediate and continued impact on the ground in Haiti.
1) Partners in Health (www.pih.org) is likely the best positioned to have an immediate impact and have had medical personnel in Port-au-Prince working since last night. They sent out a descriptive update late this afternoon about their plans and abilities, which I have included below this note for those interested. Some of you may know this organization as being co-founded by Paul Farmer.
2) Hopital Albert Schweitzer (www.hashaiti.org/) is also very well positioned to provide medical care, with a fully operational and staffed hospital an equal distance from Port-au-Prince as Partners in Health's. They have well trained surgeons and are already receiving increasing influx of injured patients coming from the capital.
3) AMURT (www.amurt.net) is an organization specifically targeted at disaster relief around they world, and they have had staff in Haiti for many years specifically for this purpose. They are already in the middle of the effort and are well experienced in the challenges of disaster relief in Haiti, having been leaders in previously devastating hurricanes.
Moving on to materials, Sophia Delpe and I, both MS2s, will be working over the coming days/week to gather resources for a group of volunteers planning to leave from Durham at some point in the weeks to come. Their specific needs are still to be determined, so you will be hearing from us again in this regard. In the meantime, we will begin by collecting clothing starting on Friday morning in Berryhill. We will setup a box in the 1st floor lounge for this collection and appreciate any support you all can provide.
If any of you have thoughts or suggestions for other organizations or personnel preparing to go to or already working in Haiti, please be in touch and share this information. Thanks in advance to everyone able to provide support.
- Ben Aiken
Update to Ben from Partners in Health
Over the past 18 hours, Partners In Health staff in Boston and Haiti have been working to collect as much information as possible about the conditions on the ground, the relief efforts taking shape, and all relevant logistics issues in order to respond efficiently and effectively to the most urgent needs in the field. At the moment, PIH's Chief Medical Officer is on her way to Haiti, where she will meet with Zanmi Lasante leadership and head physicians, who are already working to ensure PIH's coordinated relief efforts leveraging the skills of more than 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants who work at Zanmi Lasante's sites.
We have already begun to implement a two-part strategy to address the immediate need for emergency medical care in Port-au-Prince. First, we are organizing the logistics to get the medical staff and supplies needed for setting up field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince where we can triage patients, provide emergency care, and send those who need surgery or more complex treatment to our functioning hospitals and surgical facilities. To do this, we are creating a supply chain through the Dominican Republic. Second, we are ensuring that our facilities in the Central Plateau are ready to serve the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince. Operating and procedure rooms are staffed, supplied, and equipped for surgeries and we have converted a church in Cange into a large triage area. Already our sites in Cange and Hinche are reporting a steady flow of people coming with medical needs from the capital city. In the days that come we will need to make sure our pharmacies and supplies stay stocked and our staff continue to be able to respond.
Currently, our greatest need is financial support. Haiti is facing a crisis worse than it has seen in years, and it is a country that has faced years of crisis, both natural disaster and otherwise. The country is in need of millions of dollars right now to meet the needs of the communities hardest hit by the earthquake. Our facilities are strategically placed just two hours outside of Port-au-Prince and will inevitably absorb the flow of patients out of the city. In addition, we need cash on-hand to quickly procure emergency medical supplies, basic living necessities, as well as transportation and logistics support for the tens of thousands of people that will be seeking care at mobile field hospitals in the capital city. Any and all support that will help us respond to the immediate needs and continue our mission of strengthening the public health system in Haiti is greatly appreciated. Help us stand up for Haiti now.
If you are not in a position to make a financial contribution, you can help us raise awareness of the earthquake tragedy. Please alert your friends to the situation and direct them to www.pih.org for updates and ways to help.
Donate now to support our earthquake relief efforts
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Thank you for your solidarity during this crisis,