Community based care in Haiti’s Central Plateau
By Hillary Hecktman
Thomonde, HAITI–Just when I believe I’ve seen all health care opportunities in the Central Plateau of Haiti, the wind blows in a special surprise. Participating in a surgical procedure became a milestone in my life. It doesn’t get more real than scrubbing in on a hemorrhoidectomy and being an assistant to the surgeon working on his case.
Flies adhering to patients’ wounds and faces kept my muscles tight. Babies piled together in the pediatric ward brought tears to my eyes. Soon to be mothers lacking appropriate beds and IV pumps to assist in a healthy delivery gave me the chills. These facts truly pain my heart while spending the day in one of the hospitals.
While the health care system in Haiti could use greater resources, I do believe that sick patients are offered an extremely personal level of care by the Project Medishare medical team in Thomonde. Observing the interaction between nurses and their patients has inspired me to bring this aspect of human touch into my own work as a health care provider. The amount of patients seen by the physicians is truly astounding! One day I aspire to become a nurse practitioner so I, too, can provide mass amounts of care to children in need similar to the doctors I have worked with here in Haiti’s Central Plateau.
Walking through the natural terrain to experience home visits was a wonderful experience. During the span of about three hours, we visited over 15 homes and questioned families about their knowledge regarding water sources, birth control, and vaccination records. This provided me with a varying understanding of health care in Haiti because education is brought to the patient in addition to the patient seeking information.
During this week I have learned to appreciate the various ways in which organizations such as Project Medishare, make it a priority to use community based care.