Delivering Care During the Pandemic: Trust Overcomes Fear to Save a Toddler’s Life

As people are unable to travel and are fearful of being exposed to COVID, they often stay home and do not get the lifesaving care they need to combat other illnesses. One mother, however, bravely sought care from our staff when her 18 month old baby girl, Nacius Djoulie, became very ill. HUFH had successfully treated her toddler for severe malnutrition, and now she was very sick with fever and a rash. Her mother brought the child back, because she trusted Hands Up for Haiti, where Nacius had received such good care. Once again HUFH came to her aide. Recognizing how seriously ill the toddler was, our staff immediately referred her to HCBH, one of our partner hospitals, where she was admitted for life saving antibiotics. Nacius remained in the hospital for one week, and will continue to receive follow-up care, supported by HUFH's emergency hospitalization fund for children. Read more about the Emergency Medical and Surgical Fund here.

The ability to navigate medical care in Haiti is always a challenge. In the midst of COVID-19 when transportation and movement is limited, the challenges are even more difficult. This mother was able to get quality care for her child through the efforts of Hands Up for Haiti. Her mother trusted HUFH, and this trust overcame fear and saved her little girl’s life.


HUFH & Shada: Our Commitment Continues

For many years, Hands Up for Haiti (HUFH) maintained and staffed a health clinic in the neighborhood of Shada, one of the poorest areas of Cap Haitian. Many of our volunteers throughout the years assisted our Haitian staff in providing medical care during their medical missions.

Sometimes it’s not just natural disasters like earthquakes that cause devastation and loss. Two years ago, gangs began to infiltrate the neighborhoods of Shada and it eventually became too dangerous for our clinic staff. They urged us to move our programs to our office in the nearby neighborhood of Madeleine, which we did nearly a year ago. Our commitment to the people of Shada continued with our staff and TSKs (HUFH’s community health workers, Travayè Santè Kominutè in Haitian Kreyol) working to make sure every child was cared for and every pregnant woman enrolled in our nutrition program at the new location, even providing transportation costs when needed.

But then in June of this year, after a series of violent encounters between local gangs and the police, the local government brought in bulldozers and followed through on their plan to raze the community of Shada to the ground. This included the building that housed our clinic. There was little warning and over 1500 people were left homeless and lost their possessions, clothing, and documents. This included some of our staff and many patients in our malnutrition and prenatal programs. This blog tells the story of HUFH in Shada and how our organization plans to help those affected.

When We First Arrived

In November 2010, a group of us arrived in Haiti for a medical mission. Dr. Ted Kaplan, the founder of the Cap Haitian Health Network, brought us to several clinics in rural villages, and to one right in the heart of Cap Haitien: Shada, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Haiti, made up of shanties and lean-tos built on landfill, right on the edge of a heavily polluted river.

What we saw that day was such extreme poverty that it shook us to the core. Children, many without clothes or shoes playing in mud and excrement with pigs, horrible malnutrition, and many diseases. We worked that day in a one room clinic that had been started by a dedicated nurse practitioner from California, Pat Dahlberg, who began bringing medicine and treating patients in Shada a few years earlier. After that day, my life was changed forever, my eyes permanently opened to the horrible inequities that led to human suffering. Our experience in Shada, along with many other experiences during that first year, led to the creation of Hands Up for Haiti and was an integral part of our mission going forward.

A Commitment is Made

After that trip, HUFH volunteers returned to Shada many times over the years. HUFH soon assumed responsibility for the clinic from SOIL, the nonprofit dedicated to improving sanitation who owned the building. We renovated the building, put in a new roof and floor and added electricity. Watch here:

We eventually began to support all the employees including Miguel-Ange Michel, who was the clinic manager since the clinic opened, and Madame Bwa, a beloved community health worker and matrone, who would deliver people’s babies in the worst conditions imaginable. The clinic offered ongoing medical care provided by Dr. Rose-Laure Jeanty, our local Haitian partner. We expanded the pharmacy and further trained the pharmacy tech, supplied computers to the staff and trained a medical archivist. In partnership with Meds and Food for Kids, we ran our malnutrition program for children and pregnant women. Additionally, we brought teams to support the staff and reach larger numbers of the community.

Our teams screened for and found children in need of hospitalization and lifesaving surgery, like little Hermano. We found Hermano when he was 9-months old, in critical condition from a congenital heart problem, and began to treat him. Through HUFH’s Emergency and Follow-Up Fund, we arranged for Hermano to have cardiac surgery, and he is now a thriving 6 year old. You can watch Hermano's story here:

Unfortunately, sometimes children were brought to the clinic too late and we lost them. We needed to find them earlier and take action.

In 2018 we began our TSK program, and trained a group of dedicated local individuals. A tenet of this program is that TSKs are respected members of the community, selected by local leaders. In Shada, this allowed us to establish trust and recruit the neediest patients in the area for medical treatment and our malnutrition program, in time to help them. And those TSKs were essential to our ability to continue to help the people of Shada even after we moved our programs. For the past 10 years, HUFH, along with several partner organizations, worked to better the lives of the people of Shada.

The Tragedy of Poverty

The tragedy of Shada is that, while home to many refugees and extremely vulnerable people, it remained extremely under-resourced. The community lacked adequate sanitation and access to clean water, was subjected to constant flooding from the river that brought polluted water into homes and our clinic, and most of the residents lived in extreme poverty. The recent escalation of violence brought a new level of fear to the community. Now, with the destruction of the community, HUFH stands with those residents of Shada who have been displaced.

The Need Continues -- Our Work Goes On

Many HUFH volunteers were very committed to the people of Shada and to our clinic. We can assure you that we are doing everything possible to help our employees who were affected and also to locate our Shada families, including all of the children in our malnutrition program and the women in our prenatal program to see what assistance is needed and ensure continuity of care. Although our clinic is physically gone, and the people scattered, our dedication remains the same. We remain committed to the improvement of health and access to care for all of our patients.

One of our donors launched a special HUFH fund to help alleviate the human suffering caused by the destruction of Shada and to secure continued health care for the affected children and their families.

Click here to join the effort.


NO Child Should Die From Hunger

A storm is brewing in Haiti.

Due to Covid-19, the UN is anticipating a FAMINE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS in Haiti that could result in widespread starvation and ravage an already fragile population, especially the children. NO CHILD SHOULD DIE FROM HUNGER.

The Haitian people already struggle to feed their families. 1 in 5 Haitian children already suffers from severe malnutrition. Since 2010, Hands Up for Haiti has been on the ground treating and preventing childhood hunger. Our malnutrition program has treated more than 4000 children. Our staff is already distributing life-saving Medika Mamba.

We are finding more hungry, malnourished children every day.

As our leadership here and in Haiti state, we know how to do this and we continue to ramp up our programs to meet the current need. View their appeal here:

 
Meet Wisnaïlie, a child who, with donors like you by our side, HUFH has saved through our malnutrition program. Watch her story here:

 


THIS IS HUGE!!!
3x matching gift

The SG Foundation, together with an anonymous donor, is helping HUFH's NO CHILD SHOULD DIE FROM HUNGER Campaign: they are each matching - dollar for dollar - all donations up to $15,000, for a 3X match.

We are more than 3/4 of the way to our goal!

It's a 3X Match, and YOU are the key to the match. 

For every child that YOU help lift out of hunger, 2 more will be saved.

To date, our triple match has saved 385 children. It only costs $96 to treat a starving child.

Please Donate Now & Maximize Your Impact:
3X Match Ends June 21.

 

NO CHILD SHOULD DIE FROM HUNGER


Keeping Ahead of the Curve: Tackling COVID-19 in Haiti

In early March, as the world was just beginning to understand the severity of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, Hands Up for Haiti (HUFH) brought a small team to Haiti, led by co-founder Dr. Jill Ratner, on what was to be our final mission for the foreseeable future.  This was a planned education and training mission that was rapidly adjusted to assist our in-country staff with preparations for the inevitable arrival of COVID-19 on Haiti’s shores.  The team brought materials about coronavirus, and reviewed CDC and WHO guidelines with our Haitian medical staff.

That visit set the stage for how our in-country leadership, partnering with our team in the United States and Canada, would not only respond to the impending pandemic in Haiti, but also to the collateral damage of increasing food insecurity and malnutrition, and lack of access to hospitals, clinics and medical care.

As of this past week, Haiti has over 3300 cases of documented COVID-19 and has had 50 deaths. But due to limited testing, the death toll may be much higher as we are learning about an increase in unexplained and sudden deaths in the communities that we serve in the North. 

HUFH's team of medical and lay volunteers in the US and Canada is working together with our Haitian team and our partners to intensify our efforts to provide life-saving care. These efforts are more important than ever, given the ability of COVID to overwhelm Haiti’s already extremely limited medical resources. As our vision statement attests, having a “Haitian run, Haitian led” organization allows HUFH to continue our vital work despite limitations on travel, fosters a motivational sense of autonomy and creative problem solving in our Haitian staff, and helps build a better future.

This is an update about how our organization has responded:

Getting Ahead of the Virus

Within two weeks of our visiting team’s departure, Haiti reported its first cases of COVID-19 and the country was essentially placed on lock down, with flights cancelled and borders closed. As a relatively small organization, networking was crucial. To get ahead of the crisis, Dr. Rose-Laure Jeanty, our Medical Director in Haiti, began meeting with the Ministry of Health, while our in country Executive Director, Thermitus Jean, met with the leadership of other local organizations and NGOs, coordinated by the Haiti Health Network (HHN). Our Haitian leadership team also met with the directors of the local hospitals to discuss strategies for dealing with sick patients and how to obtain personal protective equipment for our staff.

 

Information Spread

People in Haiti are frightened, and a great deal of misinformation is being circulated. To help combat this problem, Dr. Jeanty wrote a simple educational message to be used by our community health workers (TSKs) to educate people in the four communities and multiple villages that we serve. The message focuses on how to stay safe and includes a basic description of the virus, how it spreads, and the importance of social distancing and washing hands. Determined to spread the word, our amazing team on the ground partnered with a local musician, Antoine Kenel, to produce a music video informing the public about dealing with COVID. The video has gone viral on social media in Haiti and can be seen by clicking here.

Keeping Our Critical Lifesaving Programs Running

A major goal of ours is to keep our critical programs running in spite of the pandemic. We quickly created a new set of protocols that incorporated social distancing to protect both our staff and community members while we continue to deliver essential care, focusing on our Malnutrition, Prenatal and Hypertension programs, all of which continue to operate and even grow to meet increased demand. Prenatal vitamins, hypertension medications, and nutritional RUTF for our childhood malnutrition program are dispensed in larger quantities, but less frequently. Community health workers still check in with families, going door to door, and reinforce the wearing of masks, social distancing and hand washing.

Making Hand Hygiene Possible

Our Clean Water and Wells Program also continued with greater emphasis placed on hygiene. In the communities that we serve, running water and sanitation infrastructure is virtually nonexistent. To work within this reality, our staff constructed “tippy-taps” - hands-free hand washing stations - close to our water wells. Securing plastic gallon jugs and soap, they have installed more than 50 of these in a short time and continue to build more.

To read more about WHAT HUFH IS DOING IN THE AGE OF THE CORONAVIRUS, CLICK HERE

To watch more about HUFH's programs, click here.

 

 


WHAT HUFH IS DOING IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

Corona Virus UPDATE
Knowledge is Power: HUFH team hard at work educating citizens on how to stay safe in the age of Coronavirus:

Donate

UPDATE ON THE EFFECTS OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC ON HUFH and ITS PROGRAMS IN HAITI:

A storm is brewing in Haiti. The UN warns that, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, a global famine of epic proportions is fast approaching. Haiti will face a famine worse than any in modern times. The Haitian people already struggle to feed their families. 1 in 5 Haitian children already suffers from severe malnutrition. Pregnant women and new moms need basic nutrition and vitamins.

Since 2010, Hands Up for Haiti has been on the ground treating and preventing childhood hunger, offering prenatal care and treating chronic disease, all issues compounded by the arrival of the Coronavirus on the shores of Haiti. Our malnutrition program has treated more than 4000 children. Our staff, already distributing life- saving Medika Mamba, is finding more hungry, malnourished children every day. We offer pre- and post- natal care, education and nutrition to help save mothers and babies. And we are ramping up all of our programs to meet the current need. But we need your help. 

Thermitus Jean, our in-country Executive Director, on the critical need to keep our malnutrition program not just up and running, but to expand it: “We at HUFH want to continue our malnutrition program and for the expansion of the program especially in this very difficult moment to at least save more children from starvation. Because the situation for them is very difficult: there is no market to sell or buy goods, menial jobs like taptap driving is done; they have no money but with our program we are saving a lot of children who would otherwise starve. We want no children to die of hunger, of malnutrition. That was our priority and the main reason we want to keep going and have more to get the program going because we want to save lives.”

In Haiti there is no government safety net. Please help us be the safety net for these children. 

Because no child should die from hunger. 

Donate

WANT TO SEE A "TIPPY TAP" IN ACTION?

WANT TO SEE THE GOOD THAT YOUR SUPPORT BRINGS TO SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD?

Pictures often speak louder than words: HUFH is working hard to keep the arrival of the Coronavirus in Haiti from further compounding the ongoing problems of malnutrition, lack of access to basic prenatal care, and widespread hypertension, chronic disease and premature death.

WITH YOUR HELP, we are succeeding.

As you know, frequent and thorough hand washing is essential to preventing the spread of the virus: hand washing stations are lifesaving, especially in a country such as Haiti where access to clean water is extremely limited. To address the problem and encourage great hygiene to defeat the virus, our team on the ground is building "TIPPY TAPS" - hand washing stations at all of our program sites and water wells and educating the communities about the importance of good hygiene.

Click here to watch villagers express their appreciation as a hand washing station was completed.
Click here to watch the hand washing station under construction.

Click here to watch our team on the ground educate patients in our hypertension group in the rural villages where we work. 

Click here to watch our team and their patients taking appropriate caution as they distribute life saving medications.

Click here for words of thanks and solidarity from our in-country leadership.


In Haiti there is no government safety net. Please help us be the safety net. 

Donate

Several weeks ago the first 2 cases of COVID-19, the Coronavirus infection, were identified in Haiti. This is an alarming development in this global pandemic as Haiti is a country severely limited in its ability to handle a major public health crisis. From hospitals that are short on almost every resource required to address this infection to a public health system that has already been stressed to its limits, the spread of Coronavirus poses a challenge to all of us who have dedicated ourselves to addressing the health needs of the Haitian people.

As we have always said, not every disaster is an earthquake or a hurricane. We are fearful that the death rate in Haiti could exceed other countries, not just from the virus itself but from its ripple effect on some of the poorest people in the world.  With respect to HUFH specifically, many of our programs are critical to saving lives on a day by day basis, particularly malnutrition, prenatal and hypertension, and so it is essential to keep them running while at the same time practicing social distancing and other methods to contain the spread of the virus

At HUFH, the health and safety of our employees, the people we serve, and our volunteers and donors come first -- now and always. Like many of you, we have adjusted our operations to reflect the “new normal” as our staff continues our work in Haiti. We are able to do all because of that vision: Haitian Run + Haitian led = Lifesaving Programs that Build a Better Future. As always, our staff on the ground continues to rise to the challenges they face with both courage and ingenuity.

In the US and Canada, we have suspended all volunteer missions to protect not only our volunteers, but also to prevent exposing the Haitian people to volunteers who might be asymptomatic and yet able to infect others. We continue to provide support, education and mentorship remotely and will resume sending visiting teams as soon as travel is again deemed safe.

We have canceled all HUFH events for the next few months, including our 10th Anniversary Celebration of our work in Haiti, our biggest fundraising event of the year. We also postponed the planned visit to the US by our Haitian leaders, Thermitus Jean and Fritznel Jean, until it is safe for them to travel.

In Haiti, we continue to prepare and support our staff as they work hard to face down the virus, by teaching about the virus and providing them with the tools needed to go out into the communities in which we work to share their knowledge.

Earlier this month, before travel restrictions were imposed, a volunteer team led by HUFH co-founder Dr. Jill Ratner, traveled to Haiti. The team, which also included a Masters in Public Health candidate, met with our entire staff to give a Coronavirus tutorial and share with prepared global health materials on everything from hand washing to social distancing.

We have adjusted our program protocols to enable us to keep our most essential programs running, though in a modified way to reflect the need for social distancing: Patients in our malnutrition, prenatal, and hypertension will receive a longer lasting supply of medika mamba, vitamins, and medicine, all delivered at a distance, to decrease the frequency of contact with staff. Those who appear to be in need of medical help will be examined by a medical professional.

We have contacted our partner hospitals to come up with a plan for referral of very ill patients who might require testing or treatment.

Our TSKs (community health workers) will travel throughout the community to check on and educate their neighbors and identify people in need of medical help, again, while practicing social distancing. Our medical staff is working to ensure that ill patients are still able to get care -- all while practicing social distancing.

Our clean water program, as vital as ever, will be modified to improve hygiene and promote social distancing. We are implementing protocols to make sure pump handles are disinfected, and we are installing touchless handwashing stations throughout our communities.

Our staff on the ground is fighting the battle daily. For example, on Friday, right after the news hit, our talented Haitian team on the ground, led by in-country administrative leaders Thermitus Jean and Fritznel Jean, medical director Dr. Rose-Laure Jeanty, Nursing Director Youselene Pierre-Louis, and coordinator Miguel-Ange St. Michel, traveled with HUFH nurses and community health workers to a community in great need to do just that: provide accurate information, quell panic and help contain the virus. Today, they implemented the new protocol for delivery of mamba in the malnutrition program, while educating the caregivers about the virus.

As this COVID-19 pandemic touches all of our lives, let’s not forget those who live in crisis every day - the people of Haiti. In the communities that we serve, many live on less than $2/day, without access to even basic health care or even clean water. Please help us by supporting our staff and our programs.

As the world shudders, HUFH remains unshakable and unmovable. We remain absolutely dedicated to our mission-but will adjust our support as needed on a day by day basis.


COUNTDOWN: 10 REASONS TO CELEBRATE HUFH’s 10th!

Coronavirus emergency -
HUFH's 10th Anniversary Gala CANCELLED:
NOW, help us make our biggest fundraising event of the year a VIRTUAL SUCCESS!

Raise your virtual paddle
&
DONATE NOW

Here are 10 reasons to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hands Up for Haiti's life-saving work in Haiti.

10!

A milestone event! 10 years working in Haiti!

9!


9 Community Health Workers - in Haitian Kreyol Travayè Sante Kominotè

TSKs are the how and the why of HUFH’s theory of change: Well-respected, motivated community residents recruited in consultation with community leaders, trained by HUFH and supervised by our local leadership, our TSKs are able to reach deep into the Haitian countryside to screen, treat, and educate vulnerable populations leading to measurably healthier, lifesaving outcomes.

 

8!

8 In-Country Program Leaders, and our staff of 40 health care professionals, community health workers and laymen:
Thermitus Jean, Executive Director & Chief Pharmacist
Fritznel Jean, Legal and Statistics Officer
Rose-Laure Jeanty, MD - Medical Director & Physician in Charge
Youselene Pierre-Louis, RN - Nursing Director & Head Nurse
Miguel-Ange St. Michel - Administrator and Logistics Officer,Malnutrition, Mobile Santè & Hypertension Programs
Frantz Toussaint - Community Water Project Director
Wisly Lindor - Eye team liaison and Hypertension Program Officer
Nelly Osias, MD - Cervical Cancer Screen and Treat

7!


7 lifesaving programs:
Fighting Malnutrition
Hypertension Screen and Treat
Saving Mothers & Newborn infants:
-- Prenatal education and nutrition
-- Helping Babies Survive
Saving Vision
Community Water Project
Emergency Medical and Surgical Fund
Cervical Cancer See and Treat

ALL DELIVERED VIA MOBILE SANTÈ:
in-country led outreach clinics to communities in need
 

6!

6 Volunteer Medical Missions Each Year,
each offering targeted program support, mentorship and professional education.

 

5!

 5. . . 0,000: The number of people with access to clean water for the next 3 decades,
because of the 14 water wells we’ve built and help maintain with community buy-in.

 

 

4!

4 Communities that we serve:
Robillard, Dondon, Bois de Lance & city areas in Cap Haitien,
including Madeline, where HUFH's office is situated, the impoverished neighborhood of Shada, and Petit-Anse, home to our newest water well.

 

3!

3 HUFH leaders on the ground pursuing higher education to help make our vision a reality:

HAITIAN RUN + HAITIAN LED =
LIFESAVING PROGRAMS THAT BUILD A BETTER FUTURE

Dr. Rose-Laure Jeanty, HUFH in-country Medical Director, pursuing a Masters in Public Health
Youselene Pierre-Louis, RN, HUFH in-country Nursing Director, studying to be a Nurse Practitioner
Miguel-Ange Michel, pursuing a Masters in Clinical Psychology

 

2!

2 co-founders: Jill Ratner & Mary Ann LoFrumento
and their cohort of original board members: Amy Parkin, LaMar Parkin, Christine Caserta, Tom Lacy & our beloved Judy McAvoy.

2 in-country leaders, Thermitus Jean & Fritznel Jean,
who represent the leadership team on the ground who remain unshakable and unmovable in the face of continual challenges.

1!
YOU!!!!

Calling all HUFH volunteers, donors & fans:
Because of you, we save lives. Because of you, we have reached this milestone. 
Help us make our virtual celebration a success!

HUFH is

 because of YOU!!!

DONATE NOW
&
HELP MAKE OUR VIRTUAL CELEBRATION A SUCCESS

 


HUFH Will Not Be Deterred: Working to Alleviate a Looming Humanitarian Crisis

Massive humanitarian crises are not always caused by earthquakes and hurricanes, or even outright warfare. Sometimes it can be a society that suddenly finds itself deprived of a vital resource or in the midst of government upheaval. In Haiti’s case, a fuel crisis — caused in part by the collapse of the Venezuelan oil industry and the loss of subsidies for gasoline – and a looming geopolitical struggle are wreaking havoc on an already fragile country.

Translation: Can people live in this condition?

With increasing instability comes greater need – with no gas comes an impending food and water crisis.  

Imagine living on $2/day while being forced to pay as much as $25 a gallon for gas on the street. This is what the people of Haiti are facing and it has brought the nation to a standstill. Haitians cannot get to work, their children cannot get to school, and hospitals cannot operate without electricity. Deliveries of food and clean water are being held up, causing severe shortages of food and water and inflated prices for the little that is available. Understandably, the Haitian people are protesting their government’s inaction as millions suffer. And these mostly peaceful protests have led to road closures, which further erode the ability of everyday Haitians to make a living and feed their families.

At Hands Up for Haiti, we will
Keep the lights on … and the mission alive.

Turmoil is nothing new to Haiti and over the past decade, we’ve seen the country suffer innumerable setbacks and crises that threaten the lives and well-being of Haiti’s poorest citizens. But through it all, HUFH has always persevered and even in the midst of the current crisis, we continue to deliver life-saving medical care to the people of Haiti. While the unrest in Haiti grows daily, our amazing staff on the ground are nimble, flexible and creative, and they use their local knowledge to ensure that our life saving programs continue. They are doing unbelievable work in the most dire of conditions and with the scantest of resources, negotiating road blocks, facing violence daily and risking their own lives to deliver essential care.

Haitian Led + Haitian Run =
Lifesaving Programs That Build a Better Future

Thermitus Jean, HUFH’s in-country executive director, describes how our team on the ground is meeting the challenging and continuing to deliver our programs: “We get up early in the morning, check to see what roads are open, and deliver our programs early in the day. We are constantly monitoring when gasoline might be delivered to a station and then send people to wait, sometimes to sleep there for two nights, in the hopes of getting whatever gasoline we can buy. Water stations are closed. So now the crisis is about water as well. And people have to go to market every day for food because there are no places you can keep them cool, like refrigerators, without gas for the generators.”

Despite the turmoil, Hands Up for Haiti’s malnutrition and hypertension programs continue to operate; patients are getting their medika mamba and blood pressure medications on schedule. In addition, because people cannot get to the health care centers, our teams are bringing this care directly to their communities. Mobile santé clinics (outreach clinics staffed by our local doctors and nurses) are being held whenever it is safe to do so and are seeing dozens of children and adults when they do. And our 13 water wells continue to provide clean water to thousands of Haitians who do not need to depend on a truck filled with water to arrive.

Thermitus added,”We care only about doing our job and helping the people. But it gets more difficult each day. We worry and pray every day.”

We will not be deterred and we refuse to let the current conditions stand in the way of our mission. 

We came in response to a disaster.
We stay to build a better future for the children of Haiti.
We succeed with the help of dedicated people like you. 


Haitian Run – Haitian Led: HUFH Welcomes Its New In-Country Leadership Team

As we focus on Haitian Run - Haitian Led, Programs that last, Hands Up for Haiti is pleased to introduce you to our new in-country management team. We want to share with you their hopes and goals for Hands Up for Haiti under their stewardship, hopes and goals that they will fulfill by leading on the ground and collaborating fully with mentors and other global health professionals in the US, in Haiti and elsewhere. Their full bios can be found by clicking here. What follows is a brief statement from each of them describing how they each see their role as leaders and what they hope to accomplish for HUFH.

Thermitus Jean – In-country Executive Director and Chief Pharmacist

Thermitus envisions his leadership as in-country Executive Director as follows:

“As the first member of the organization in the field, I am committed as the good captain to bring the boat with everyone to the good port of success. Pharmacist and Executive Director make me a real member of the big family called HUFH. I also recognize as the first person of the new administration of the organization, see in me the drive to totally succeed to reach our goals.

“As a leader I will use all the right steps for the advancement of the organization in all areas. I always have in me the sense of responsibility, integrity and all the good qualities that would be better for the work I am contributing. I represent HUFH on the ground: I better say not only for Haiti, why not the whole world. To achieve the organization’s Mission and Vision, I collaborate with people in Haiti and in US and I work harder fighting day and days to reach the goals and to see as well HUFH growing up fast. As a leader I am willing and able to sacrifice more making sure in short of period of time to accomplish a lot of good things for a better future.

“I am working to make sure we have very good team collaboration to reach our goal, to work together so that the team is always strong. Because to see HUFH Winning is to see my success as leader.

“These are my wishes in future for the organization:

  • Have a really good connection with the US Board and management
  • A stronger staff well trained, with good relations and welfare (family unity) for the staff
  • More visibility on our programs in the ground
  • Promoting our work by doing all best to have more donors
  • Have good report
  • Improve and increase HUFH’s capacity
  • Create and/or strenghten partnership with MSSP, sister hospitals, other NGOs
  • Support the new Medical Director and Director of Nursing and work with medical staff and volunteers to maintain a strong and high quality meedical direction
  • Remain proud and happy in what I’m doing as responsibility and put all my knowledge on what I do to move forwards.”


 

Rose-Laure Jeanty, MD – Medical Director

Rose-Laure’s expresses her excitement at being a member HUFH’s of core leadership group:

I am extremely happy and proud to be part of the big HUFH family. It is a great privilege for me to be one of the members of the administrative staff in Haiti as the medical director. As a leader I am available and willing to work for the continuous progress of the organization and to help our people. I engage in working with science in consciousness to motivate and develop the sense of belonging and the sense of responsibility of employees, what will enable us to achieve the goals we have set through our currency ”Heal Teach Support.”


 

Fritznel Jean, Av. – Human Resources Manager and Legal Liaison; Asst. In-Country Director

Fritznel’s states goals as a member HUFH’s core leadership group:

“As Human Resources Manager, Legal liaison and Statistician for Hands up for Haiti, I consider myself as a full member of the Organization: the success of HUFH will be mine. I am fighting so hard every day so that HUFH can be on top.

As a leader, I wish to accomplish so many things with the organization. My Plan is:

  • Have a stronger staff in the ground, well trained and happy.
  • Have a better connection with the US director and board, and make them happy with the work I am doing.
  • Have more Programs on the Ground.
  • Help finding Donors by promoting HUFH with all the good work we are doing.
  • Connect with MSPP as they leading the healthcare in Haiti.”

 


 

Youselene Pierre-Louis, RN – Director of Nursing

Youselene’s goals as a member HUFH’s core leadership group include:

“In all humility, I feel honored and flattered to be part of the HUFH family and for the position entrusted to me.

As a leader, I put all my skills to work to determine what to do and how to achieve the desired results. With passion, I assume my responsibilities as head nurse,  follow-up on time in order to lead to a better result. I make sure that all the staff are fulfilling their roles while highlighting the notions of professional ethics in order to fulfill our mission which is this one: “Heal-Teach-Supporter.” I am fulfilled when I serve and I can meet the needs of others.

 


 

Dr. Manol Isac, Board Advisor and International Consultant

Manol, who served us for the last 5 years as our in-country Executive Director, is leaving HUFH to pursue other interests, but we are excited to welcome his continued assistance as our International Consultant and Board Advisor. Manol’s continued hopes for HUFH include:

“I believe the mission is possible by supporting the efforts of everyone in Haiti and elsewhere working in this positive struggle to fight against malnutrition, allowing the vulnerable to have access to health care and considering the importance of health indicators when we know Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

“Let’s fight together, converging our focus with the Haitian staff is the essential way to make things happen as it supposed to by keeping the same strategy, which is the fact of leaving the Haitian staff to produce under our supervision what they can to the well-being of everyone.”


 

To learn more about our program leaders, nurses, community health workers and lay staff on the ground, click here.


Nursing Team Brings Care to a Haiti in Crisis

At the end of September, a small group of us traveled to Cap Haitian for the first medical mission since February. As you know, there has been an extreme shortage of fuel in Haiti since the beginning of this year. As a result, the conditions in Northern Haiti are deteriorating daily. Without fuel, there is little electricity: Haiti already has a very poor electrical infrastructure; without gas, they cannot run generators. Many Haitians already do not have enough food, and now the current situation is impacting our families in a very negative way: transportation of goods is hugely impacted, resulting in a shortage of food and clean water. Schools are closed, businesses and hotels shut down, and people are not able to get to their jobs — if they still have them. This means they have less income, and what they have has less value as prices skyrocket due to fuel shortages. 

From despair comes hope: mothers and their children waiting for our team to deliver much needed medical care

Despite these conditions, I cannot stress enough how our team on the ground has persevered to provide services to the communities HUFH serves.  Sometimes at a danger to themselves and at a much higher cost to our organization. Our visit was to support their efforts and bring needed supplies and medications.

Delivering essential medications and supplies

Our team consisted of three nurses from Canada, HUFH board member Hope Bechard, Jen Harding, and Jeannelle Morrrisette, who joined three providers from the US, Mary Ann LoFrumento MD, Nancy Montville APN and first time volunteer, Beth Kaplan APN.  We saw firsthand the conditions that our Haitian friends are living in.  We adjusted our original plans to work closer to our guest house, using the least amount of fuel.

Working with staff on the ground to triage every patient

Mama Baby Haiti, a local birthing center that provides both prenatal and maternity services to women and follow up care for the babies, provided clinic space where we saw children that desperately needed medical care. Our in-country team took us to two of the Hands Up for Haiti program sites where, together with our in-country medical providers, we provided care to several hundred families. The medications and supplies we brought were life-saving.

At Mama Baby Haiti we were welcomed and supported.

We also treated children and adults with fluoride varnish for cavity prevention and taught several medical education classes to nurses and midwives.

Flouride varnish helps this little boy smile.
Nurse Youslene teaches Helping Babies Breathe course at Bethesda Nursing School

Every time I go to Haiti, there are a few infants or children that we identify who need urgent care in order to survive. This time it was several newborns, unable to breastfeed, who were not gaining weight. Our team was able to obtain formula for these infants, and they are now thriving. For medical and surgical follow-up, we identified a child with a cleft palate and a child with a heart defect identified and referred for follow up care that Hands Up for Haiti will help to coordinate.

teaching sexual education to teens

Since we could not travel to all of our planned clinics, we did education on sexual health to teens who lived near our guest house on three afternoons.  The teens are such a delight, and were so willing to receive as much information as we could give them!  

The medical needs in Northern Haiti are so great!   The work that Hands Up for Haiti does in those communities is invaluable.   We cannot provide care for everyone in those areas, but I assure you that the programs we run truly do save and improve lives

Helping to preserve hope.

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Working together with team on the ground to ensure access to quality health care.

Education: the Key to Lifesaving Programs

Haitian Run – Haitian Led: At Hands Up for Haiti, our Medika Mamba malnutrition program is an essential part of our work to ensure a healthy future for the children of Haiti. Our doctors, nurses and trained community health workers (TSKs), all members of the communities that they serve, go into the community to identify children at risk and enroll them in the malnutrition program before it is too late to save them. As with all of our programs, the fighting malnutrition Medika Mamba program is Haitian run and directed by local staff who know how best to assess the needs of the communities and have a more meaningful impact. Our Haitian leadership is supported by a US based team of experts in nutrition and pediatrics.

All of HUFH’s Haitian staff embrace this model and strive to succeed. They know that the key to their success is education, education and more education, as well as collaboration with aligned organizations. To that end, last month our entire malnutrition program team went to the offices of Meds & Food for Kids (MFK), the nonprofit organization based in Cap Haitien that manufactures Medika Mamba, the nutritional supplement we use in our programs to treat severely malnourished children.

Nurse Youselene Pierre examines a child for signs of malnutrition.

 

Mme Youselene Pierre-Louis, a nurse and one of our malnutrition program leaders, explained why this training is so important to her, to the staff and to the children and parents in the program: “The training I took at MFK was very beneficial because it makes me and each program worker more knowledgeable and also helps us include many more children into our programs. As a nurse, I know that childhood malnutrition can cause permanent damage and even death, I am filled with gratitude and a sense of achievement when I serve in this program and I manage to save children with malnutrition. And more that gives me great pleasure: we share our education with parents, and many parents correctly apply the sessions of education that we conduct at each visit to the program. Because of this we are seeing more excitement, compliance and success in our programs.”

With their reinforced skills and additional knowledge, our program staff returns to their communities, identifying malnourished children, admitting them into our programs, and helping to secure for them and their families a healthy and productive future.

Our team will continue to attend monthly education sessions run by HUFH’s in-country medical director, Dr. Rose-Laure Jeanty.

To view the class, click here.