Care Clinic: My Perspective

Apr 1, 2020

This is the third year I have volunteered to be part of the medical team at HFHC’s Child Care Clinic. Each year I have been startled at the poverty and hunger these children face. A U.N. study found that Haiti has the worst food insecurity in the world, and I have witnessed this firsthand. We see so many children in the clinic who have headaches or belly aches due to hunger. My heart breaks for the children and their parents for the uncertainty of where their next meal is coming from. The children all receive a snack when they arrive at clinic, but many of them save it knowing that they will later be fed lunch. This snack may be all they get to eat tomorrow, or they take it back to feed a family member at home.

During the second clinic week we examined more than 1,100 children. They came with rashes, cavities, headaches, glaucoma, and their hunger. For some, this is the only medical care they will receive this year. We examine and treat those in need, feed them, and love on them. And the children are so happy to receive this care.

Because of nation-wide protests in the months leading up to our clinic when no travel was possible throughout the country, I saw some children who had not been able to get to a hospital and were severely ill. A young mother brought her disabled daughter to the clinic and asked if “the lady doctor” would check her. She had severe neurologic problems that were a result of this young mother having been infected with Zika virus during her pregnancy. Living and working in Pennsylvania, I have never encountered this. There was also a young teen that was so very ill that she had to be taken to one of the few emergency rooms in Haiti. She was admitted with severe breathing problems. What a blessing that this girl will get proper treatment because she is part of HFHC’s sponsorship program!

I also had a surprise this year — bringing me great joy. The first day of clinic I was introduced to a young Haitian man – Jeff Jean — who is finishing up his last year of medical training to be a licensed doctor, and he wanted to observe for the week. I enjoy teaching medical students back in the States, so that sounded like a great idea. As I was getting to know him through my interpreter, I discovered that he grew up in HFHC’s Cazeau Orphanage from 2000-2008 and then completed his secondary training at HFHC’s Delmas School. He has had an American sponsor all along. It was so gratifying to know that what we are doing with HFHC is working! He is the reason we do this… he and those other success stories that come out of this ministry.

Our time together was one of mutual teaching and collaboration; it was he that realized that the little girl was affected by Zika. I was able to share some of what I have learned over the years about medication choices and other options. He was able to share about local medical needs. What a blessing to have been able to spend time with Jeff. I look forward to seeing him again and continuing to learn together!

I am very excited to know that HFHC is planning to have a school nurse at every school to follow up on sick children and is raising funds for a permanent clinic at the Thomazeau Hope Center. What a blessing for the Thomazeau school to have an on-site clinic to aid the children. The clinic will also be able to serve the families of the students, help with Camp Hope participants, and assist U.S. medical mission teams as they come to bless the entire Thomazeau community!
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