Heartfelt thanks from Haiti

by Karin Uckrow/RBU, 2010/08/02

At the end of March, Karin Uckrow from Berlin took on the position of a project coordinator for humedica and travelled to Haiti in order to support the medical teams. Four months later the day of her departure has arrived, and she tells about it in her report.

Step by step normality is returning to Haiti - this is also true for these children from the orphanage. Photo: humedica/Verena Göttlich

"Since January 15, 2010, the humedica teams have provided medical care to victims of the earthquake and treated both inpatients and outpatients at the Hospital of Hope in Port-au-Prince. First medical treatment encompassed in particular the treatment of multiple comminuted fractures, contusions, and in many cases limbs needed to be amputated.

With its team of surgeons, anaesthetist, general practitioners, nurses and paramedics, the tent hospital became a centre for the treatment of disaster injuries after the earthquake.

Over the next few months the focus of our work at the Hospital of Hope was set on (follow-up) treatment of our inpatients' amputations and severe fractures which had been caused by the earthquake. This also included intensive wound care, further necessary surgeries in case of badly healed fractures and extensive physiotherapeutic measures.

Besides working at the hospital in Port-au-Prince, the humedica teams were also active in the city of Leogane. During the last few months, the teams focussed running mobile hospitals in the surroundings of Leogane.

Apart from earthquake victims who came to receive medical treatment only after some time, we also treated patients whose diseases were caused by the conditions after the earthquake - dismal hygienic conditions as well as malnutrition and undernutrition. Furthermore, our teams provided medical treatment at twelve orphanages which had been affected by the earthquake.

The large amount of work which has been done since the earthquake in January has been accomplished by a total of eleven medical teams. Altogether, more than 120 volunteers from different age groups, with different nationalities and professions or different fields of medical expertise have worked for humedica in order to provide medical treatment to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Thanks to the commitment of the voluntary assistants and the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office, we were able to achieve a lot over the last six months. More than 100 of the most critically injured persons were treated as inpatients at the hospital, and thousands of people received outpatient treatment.

Our medical teams often had to work under difficult conditions. Often they were forced to improvise, in order to compensate for the lack of material, or sometimes our team members had to move from one mission area to the next within a relatively short period of time due to the current circumstances. Heat and heavy rainfalls did not exactly facilitate their work.

The medical project "treatment of earthquake victims" will now be concluded in its current state. Most of our patients could be dismissed during the last few weeks and only nine persons are still staying at the hospital as inpatients. Those patients will still be treated at the Hospital of Hope until they will have recovered completely.

Over the next few months, humedica will continue its commitment in Port-au-Prince with smaller medical teams consisting of up to five persons and the focus of their work will be set on the fields of physiotherapy and wound care.

Hospital director Gladys Thomas (right) with members of the last humedica team. Photo: humedica/Karin Uckrow

The last, large medical team was officially seen off by Gladys Thomas, the hospital director. On behalf of the numerous patients and of the hospital, Gladys Thomas thanked the humedica team, the German Federal Foreign Office, and all the teams and coordinators who have committed themselves to helping the victims of the earthquake in Haiti over the last few months.

She expressed her gratitude for the efforts and support of all the persons who have contributed to making this mission a success.

On my last day here, I am sending you kind regards from Haiti,
Yours sincerely, Karin"

The entire humedica team at the headquarters in Kaufbeuren would also like to express their thanks. It was this altruistic readiness to help, charity and great commitment that made the humedica missions possible to start with.

Until the end of 2011, humedica will still employ smaller teams of medical experts in Haiti, and depending on the need, humedica will continue to send expert teams to the Caribbean state. Dear friends and sponsors, please support this project by means of a targeted donation:

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Earthquake Haiti"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Please also donate online, in order to help the people in Haiti or choose the fast, simple and secure way of support by means of sending a text message:
simply send DOC to the abbreviated dialling +49 8 11 90 and support us with a one-time donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica project work. Thank you very much.

The patients and managers of the hospital expressed their thanks to the humedica doctor teams for their Charity in Action over the past six months - and so do the humedica employees at the headquarters in Kaufbeuren. The cake was 20cm high, 80cm broad and 40cm long. Photo: humedica/Karin Uckrow

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