Community health program provides rural residents better access to healthcare
By Jennifer Browning
When Asefi Jean woke up this morning, she noticed her 16-month-old daughter Annkeri had a fever and an infection in her eye so she brought her to the clinic in Casse.
For Asefi to visit the clinic today, it is a 15-minute walk, but before the clinic was available for the community of Casse/LaHoye a simple visit to the doctor was an all day affair.
“It used to be more difficult to take my children, or myself to see a doctor,” Asefi said. “If there was not the clinic here, I would have to rent a donkey and take my daughter to the clinic in Thomonde. I am so thankful that there is this clinic here.”
To rent a donkey, Asefi would have to pay 100 gourde, which would mean Asefi would have little to no money to buy food at the market for her family.
Most rural areas in Haiti have little to no access to healthcare, making residents susceptible to otherwise treatable diseases. Project Medishare, through the community health program in the Central Plateau, works to provide more than 100,000 people with better access to healthcare. Over 95 local staff of Haitian doctors, nurses, LPN’s, health agents, and administrative staff provide this care.
Nancy la Paix , who also brought her one-month old daughter, Chelsea, to the clinic today, agreed with Asefi.
Nancy lives in Paredom, which is a 30-minute walk for she and her daughter. When Nancy was a child, she said she remembers a family friend placing she and her mother on a motorcycle so they could go see a doctor.
“It was much further. We had to go to Las Cahobas and this would take an hour and a half ride on a motorcycle,” she said. “Then we would take a boat to cross the river to get to the clinic.”
And for those residents who aren’t as fortunate to have a clinic close by, Project Medishare conducts at least three mobile clinics to reach out to provide care to those living in hard to reach areas like Boucantis and Baille Touribe , which are situated high in the mountains. Children in the Central Plateau are more likely to receive important vaccines at rally posts and mobile pediatric clinics set up in local schools.
With a hospital in Thomonde, mobile clinics scattered throughout the countryside and designated health agents working in local communities, Project Medishare has established an integrated healthcare system.
An hour later, with the sun beating down on them, Asefi carried a sleepy Annkeri away from the clinic to begin her walk home down a bumpy dirt road. Her daughter will need to return next week if the eye drops don’t help clear up her infection.
“It would be very difficult if this clinic wasn’t here,” Asefi said. “I thank God for the doctors here.”
**Laurene Leger contributed to this story.