Rehabilitation services in Haiti have been very limited with few trained providers in the country to meet the needs of people with disabilities. With the recent earthquake, these needs have increased dramatically with thousands of people being affected by fractures, spinal cord injuries, and amputations. We are seeking supports for two projects that have been operating in Haiti for some time, both of which are now more important than ever. Health Volunteers Overseas is partnering with the Advantage Program to build on these existing projects for a more synergetic approach to rehabilitation.
Health Volunteers Overseas provides training for rehabilitation technicians at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, in the Artibonite Valley (some 60 miles from Port-au-Prince). These technicians will work in rural health dispensaries to provide community-based rehabilitation. Under normal circumstances, World Health Organization data would assume 30,000 people in such an area would be directly impacted by a disability. With the earthquake, many more will be directly affected, and, in reality, disability affects an entire family as it impacts on the ability to attend school, live self-sufficiently, and earn an income.
HVO is seeking funds for rehabilitation equipment and further development of the curriculum. The hospital, where the training occurs, has been in operation for more than 50 years and, fortunately, is still intact after the earthquake. With the rehabilitation services provided at the hospital, it is seen as a prime resource for the region. This project is viewed as a model which can be replicated elsewhere in the country.
The Advantage Program is located in the Rehabilitation Clinic & Brace Shop of Centre de Santé Lumière (CSL), an outpatient clinic and 60-bed hospital located near Les Cayes, Haiti. The program works with schools and other organizations to train and support accommodation for the successful inclusion of appropriate children into regular classrooms. The program is working toward assisting children with physical disabilities to attend local/community schools.
Following the earthquake, the Advantage Program started the “Step Forward and Reach Out” initiative whereby one can purchase an artificial limb or brace for someone in Haiti. The limbs and orthoses will be made using the International Committee of the Red Cross method. Cost is $50 for orthosis; $150 for transtibial prosthesis; $225 for transfemoral prosthesis.
The long-term need for rehabilitation care in Haiti is more important than ever. Your gift will support two projects designed to help provide access to health care and to build Haiti’s health care system for the future. This project is a collaborative, capacity-building effort which will make a significant difference in the lives of many.
All funds donated will be shared between the two projects and are, of course, tax deductible.
Thank you for your interest and support.
Nancy A. Kelly, MHS