WJR, in partnership with Merlin*, has helped bring primary and maternal health care to communities catastrophically affected by the earthquake that hit on January 12th 2010. This includes the establishment of five mobile clinics, the rehabilitation of the Caravelle Health Clinic and a programme of cholera treatment and prevention in Port-au-Prince.
Staff at the mobile clinics focus on treating communicable diseases as well as on prevention. Each clinic carries out up to 1,000 consultations every month, and targets those with limited access to health care services, displaced communities, women and children. The mobile clinics each consist of two vehicles that are kitted out with medical equipment, drugs and staff that are able to provide health care services.
Merlin’s Cholera Treatment and Prevent programme funds the sixty-bed Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) in Port-au-Prince serving 600 cholera patients a month and prevention activities in the centre, at Oral Rehydration Points, within the CTC and at a community level.
A further project intended to provide the infrastructure for longer-term medical care is supporting the rehabilitation of the Caravelle Health Centre which was damaged in the earthquake, leaving part of the building unusable and no reliable water or electricity supply.
WJR contributes to the funding for the reconstruction and repair work required as the Centre’s current state is unsustainable to provide quality care. The fully rebuilt building will be constructed to earthquake safety standards to reduce further risk of damage. The clinic will remain open during its rehabilitation, serving on average 1,380 a month with antenatal and postnatal care and advice on preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
*Merlin is an international medical relief agency, with significant experience operating in post disaster environments.
Every week, our mobile clinic visits a small village about 45 minutes into the hills from Petit Goave, west of Port-au-Prince. There is no proper road to the village - instead our 4x4s take us up a stony riverbed –totally impassable once the rainy season starts. One week, a man ran in saying that his wife's water had broken hours ago and she was having heavy contractions in the river bed below. She had been trying to hike the three hours to the nearest hospital, but was not going to make it.
Two doctors from our team and I trekked down to where she was labouring, perched on a tiny river rock. Dr. Mario and I immediately strapped on gloves, lifted up her gown and felt the head crowning. At that moment the lady stood upright and screamed as she pushed her baby out.
Unbelievable! Baby breathing and mother trembling...with the infant safely placed on her mother’s stomach, I tied off the umbilical cord and cut it with my scalpel – et voila! Her parents were so moved that they decided on the spot to name the baby after us - Maria Cezanne Merline”.
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