Meet Dr. Widney Ganthier
Dr. Widney Ganthier has been working with Project Medishare for the past two years. She initially completed her social service residency with us in 2016, and now works as an independent contractor helping our team provide healthcare to families in rural communities. Read our Q & A with Dr. Ganthier to learn more about what it’s like to work in the Central Plateau.
What inspired you to pursue medicine?
I always knew I wanted to study medicine. My godmother is a doctor, so she was my biggest inspiration. My aunt and cousin are also both doctors. It runs in the family! I studied medicine in the Dominican Republic, where I also learned Spanish. I haven’t chosen a specialty yet, but I am deciding between internal medicine and pediatrics. I think I am leaning more towards pediatrics; I like seeing the children at the mobile clinics. I hope to be able to travel to Canada to study for my specialty. My aunt is a doctor in New Jersey, so I’d like to travel there as well.
Describe your average day working with Project Medishare.
There is definitely no average day – each day is unique. Two Fridays a month, I work at the mobile clinics, where we see patients that live in very rural areas. They don’t have access to any other health care. When I’m not at the mobile clinics, I am either working at the maternity center in Marmont or doing home visits to see those that can’t get to the mobile clinics.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Patients wait until the last minute to come to [Project Medishare’s] mobile clinics. They only come when they feel sick. I am always telling them to come for regular visits, even if they feel fine. When they wait too long to come, their symptoms have really progressed. It’s always easiest and best to treat something if you catch it early. I tell every patient I see to come every few months.
What are some of the challenges within Haiti’s healthcare sector?
The lack of education. There just aren’t enough doctors in enough specialties. We don’t have enough opportunities to learn from qualified doctors. There also aren’t enough good quality hospitals or health clinics in Haiti. In general, we suffer from a lack of resources.
Education for patients is also a problem – if there was more common knowledge about taking care of yourself and getting check-ups regularly, people would not get sick so often.
Do you think Project Medishare’s capacity building activities such as the Pediatric Residency Program, medical volunteers and staff training are helping to address some of those challenges?
Yes, very much so. These activities help to improve the healthcare sector in Haiti. For example, since the end of January of this year [Project Medishare’s] community health agents attend three days of training each month. This is a great initiative to improve healthcare at the community level.
For more information about Project Medishare’s capacity building programs in Haiti, click here.