Report from Léogane: Remarkable Cooperation among NGOs

by Saskia Hankel/FBA,  2010/02/22

After a detailed briefing by coordinator Michael Krimpmann and after he has departed together with a part of our doctor team, this day is my first “actual” working day as coordinator of our humedica team in Leogane.

Here, we live on the large grounds of a former school which has been closed since the earthquake and which now serves as accommodation and headquarters for several charity organisations

Among the several organisations a remarkably good cooperation has developed – cooperation to an extent I have never experienced before. It is a daily give and take.

The German charity organisation “Technisches Hilfswerk” for example takes care of water supply and provides showers and portable toilets. Furthermore, we are allowed to share their washing machine and they offer warm meals in the evenings.

A humedica doctor is examining a child. Photo: humedica/Saskia Hankel

A Cuban charity organisation mainly treats and cares for women and children. They provide pregnant women with a tent – hence at least with a reasonably protected place – to bear their children in.

Members of the organisation “Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolph Steiner e.V.” play with the children and cook for them. By means of their work they contribute to bringing a little more joy and happiness to the region which has been devastated by the earthquake. The charity organisation NAVIS mainly takes care of surgical patients, while internal patients are treated by our humedica doctors.

The last week has been exhausting, but also successful. In close cooperation with NAVIS, each of our doctors has been able to treat more than 400 patients a day at a mobile hospital. The majority of patients suffered from parasites, but dysentery, stomach troubles, otitis media and infected wounds were also among the most frequent ailments.

Places around Léogane, where patients had not had access to medical treatment for a long time, had been chosen as treatment locations. Mostly, more than 50 patients per day and doctor could be taken care of at our mobile outpatient clinic. That means that over 500 patients have been treated by humedica doctors during this week.

humedica doctor is examining a girl for head lice. Photo: humedica/Saskia Hankel

The disease patterns were similar to those we encountered at our mobile hospital. But in some cases the diseases were so severe that we had to take patients to the military field hospital of the Canadian Army after an initial treatment with antipyretic drugs and infusions.

We also diagnosed the first cases of malaria. At the moment it seems to be relatively quiet and if I spend the whole day here at the camp, I am actually not often reminded of the earthquake which happened not long ago.

Apparently, normality has returned to the region. But nevertheless, there is some hardly tangible tension in the air. Last week two insignificant aftershocks took place and now the most far-fetched theories are spreading regarding the probability of another earthquake and its possible strength.

However, what is worrying us most at the moment, are the isolated, but partly very heavy rain showers of the last few days, since they are foreboding the wet season. It is hard to imagine how people, who have already lost their homes during the earthquake five weeks ago, are now supposed to live through these aftershocks under their shelters made of tarps and cloths without taking further harm.

humedica team planning the next steps. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

Next week we will extend our activities in the more remote areas together with the newly arrived team of doctors. By means of this step we hope that we will be able to offer access to medical treatment to even more suffering people.

Please support our work by means of a donation, in order to help as many people as possible.
humedica e.V.
Donation reference „Earthquake Haiti“
Account 47 47
Bank code 734 500 00
Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Please also donate online. Thank you very much.

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