Haiti: Long-term aid by means of Prosthetics and Orthotics Centre

by Daria Napieraj,  2011/04/08

After the earthquake in January 2010 and the outbreak of the cholera epidemic last autumn, the situation in Haiti continues to be problematic. The population of the Caribbean state has suffered immense losses due to the two disasters. Even today, they are still facing the devastating consequences of the earthquake and only slowly are they learning how to deal with this situation. Houses are lying in ruins, family members and friends died, are ill or still suffering from the implications of their injuries.

As a direct consequence of the earthquake, more than 1,500 persons had to undergo amputation. Another 10,000 persons have needed for orthotics since then. Orthotics are medical appliances used to support body parts with limited function and to correct defective positions and injuries.

The front wall of the workshop has not yet been built, in order to facilitate transporting material inside the building. Photo: humedica

Numerous Haitian orthopaedic workshops have been destroyed by the earthquake, or damaged to a large extent. Apart from that, there is a lack of trained orthopaedic technicians and hence the population's need for these medical appliances cannot be met.

In face of this interim balance, humedica decided to establish an orthopaedic workshop at the "Hospital of Hope" in the capital of Port-au-Prince. This workshop is intended to provide patients with medical appliances on a permanent basis. Over the past few months, several relief organisations from all over the world helped to provide patients with prosthetics and orthotics, but by now most of them have left the country once more. The workshop humedica is setting up is in the first place intended to fit, maintain and - if necessary - fix prosthetics and orthotics, as well as to train three Haitians as professional orthopaedic technicians.

Construction of the two-storey workshop building is progressing fast. In some rooms, construction measures have mostly been concluded. In a few weeks' time, power lines will be laid and the devices and machines needed at the new Prosthetics and Orthotics Centre will be installed in the new rooms.

The necessary equipment, which mainly comes from the Dominican Republic, is procured by humedica at the same time, in order to inaugurate the workshop as soon as possible. As early as in August this year, the trainees will start their education as certified orthopaedic technicians, which will last two and a half years.

A ramp is built in order to facilitate access to the workshop's reception to future patients. Photo: humedica

Also for a period of two and a half years, humedica is planning to accompany and finance further improvements to the workshop and the professional training programme in close cooperation with the "Hospital of Hope". After this period, the humedica project will be handed over to the hospital. This measure ensures that sustainable relief can also be granted in future.

By finishing the Prosthetics and Orthotics Centre in Port-au-Prince, humedica is realising another objective: running a mobile workshop. A 4x4 vehicle has been bought for this purpose and in future we will be able also to treat patients living in remote regions, who otherwise would hardly have access to medical treatment.

By means of running education programmes, humedica is at the same time intending to increase the Haitians' awareness and sensitivity regarding people with disabilities and to improve the quality of care they receive in rural areas.

Dear friends and sponsors of humedica: in Haiti, there still is an urgent demand for orthotics in particular. Thanks to these medical appliances and the medical care and education programmes offered, we can facilitate the lives of many disabled persons who are living in difficult conditions.

Please support our Prosthetics and Orthotics Centre in Haiti by means of a donation to the account below:

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

You can support us in a secure, fast and simple way by means of sending a text message: send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. You will donate 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica relief projects. You are also welcome to make a donation via our online form.

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