Donkeys help increase access to medicine in Haiti

Report
from Health Partners International of Canada
Published on 12 Dec 2016 View Original

Posted December 12th, 2016 by Christina Parsons

How does your doctor get to the clinic in the morning?

A safe bet would be to say a car. Perhaps a bicycle for the health conscious doctor or public transit for the urban doctor.

In Haiti this past November, a mobile medical team from B.C. with Heart to Heart Haiti used 22 motorcycles and four donkeys to get to their patients.

Now that paints a picture of how hard it is to access medicine for some rural populations.

“We did some serious off-roading as we climbed the mountain,” wrote Rebecca, the organizer.

The path had been damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October making it even worse than usual. On the day of the clinic in Tetbef, the donkeys were packed at 4:30 a.m. and ready to take the supplies, including three Humanitarian Medical Kits ( 2 for primary care and one Mother-Child Health Kit) provided by Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC).

When the team arrived later in the morning, there were more people than they expected. In total 150 people were seen on this one day. Malaria, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and joint pain were mostly what brought them.

Seven more clinics were held like this one and a total 1,396 patients were seen- more than half were children and the elderly.

“In Canada we can comfort our children and elderly with fever and pain management,” said Lauren Rose, a nurse on the team who submitted a report to HPIC. “This is not an option for 99% of the people we see here in Haiti.”

In each clinic they saw a lot of patients with fever. “We treated these patients and it is probable that death by sepsis, malaria or typhoid was prevented,” she reported to HPIC.

The Humanitarian Medical Kits are always “an essential core item” for their trips to Haiti.