Project Stories:

Haiti: Help in the Hospital of Hope

A review by Dr. Michael Scholten

by Dr. Michael Scholten

The 12th of January 2010 Haiti was hit by the strongest earthquake in its history. The quakes, which registered 7.0 on the Richterskala, caused more than 300.000 fatalities, many casualties and destroyed the homes of more than 2 million Haitians overnight.

Only several hours later was the first humedica medical intervention team on its way to Haiti to provide assistance. In the capital Port-au-Prince another humedica team took over to run the "Hospital of Hope" (Hôpital Espoir). This cooperation continues till date.

Few weeks ago our intervention team members Dr. Michael Scholten and Klaus-Jürgen Schwarz travelled to Haiti: a joint project of the "Hospital of Hope", the "Johannesbad Fachklinik", the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and humedica aims to improve the hygienic structures of the hospital.

humedica-Einsatzkräfte in Haiti

At work for the Johannesbad Fachklinik and humedica: Klaus-Jürgen Schwarz (on the left) and Dr. Michael Scholten. Photo: humedica

Dr. Michael Scholten summarizes his experiences in Haiti for humedica

There we were – two people in Haiti, the poorer counterpart to the Dominican Republic, the downside of the Caribbean holiday region. "We", that were Klaus-Jürgen Schwarz – a self-employed hygiene expert - and me, Dr. Michael Scholten.

A new project brought us to Haiti, jointly organised by the "Johannesbad Fachklinik" and the "Hospital of Hope", which is run by Gladys Thomas, the head of the institution.

The "Hospital of Hope", as well as the associated children´s home "Hope Home", work based on Christian values and continue to expand since 25 years. Thereby not only the number of people needing help, but also the financial challenges grows steadily. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western world. The rift between the poor and the rich is gaping widely. But the concrete help for needy people must not suffer from this situation. On that we all agree: the management at my clinic in Germany, humedica, Klaus-Jürgen Schwarz, Gladys Thomas as well as me.

humedica-Einsatzkraft mit der Leiterin des Hopital Espoir in Haiti

Working on the new hygiene measures for the "Hospital of Hope": Dr. Michael Scholten and Gladys Thomas. Photo: humedica

Our project plan: help for self-help

Our partner project is well managed: every three month a new team from Germany will travel to the "Hospital of Hope". The aim is to optimise the hygienic measures according to clearly defined specifications. We do not come as supervisors, but as supporters and guides. It is our task to assist, to train and to consult the staff onsite. After one year it is planned to evaluate all changes.

The commitment of the staff onsite is exemplary. The dedication of the nurses caring for the patients is touching. The wish for improvement is omnipresent. But it is clear that this will not be able to happen without financial support from outside and the establishment of general standards.

Die Frühchenstation im Hopital Espoir

The premature intensive care unit of the "Hospital of Hope" is in urgent need for renovations to spatially separate externally and internally born children. Photo: humedica

As there are no functioning washing machines available, the operating theatre linen and clothing is washed by hand. The hand disinfectant is also scarce, so soap and towels are used instead. The premature intensive care unit is in urgent need for renovations as externally and internally born preemies should not be accommodated in the same room. The danger of disease transmission is simply too big.

First results

The trust, the employees place in us after some while, enables first results. We are able to assist the pharmacist of the hospital, who is also responsible for purchasing the right material. Together we develop a purchase concept, which will save nearly 70 per cent of the costs thanks to the right choice of products and package sizes in the near future.

After having gained a first, but already quite detailed insight, in our second week onsite we organise a training for the whole hospital staff. In its focus: the practical use of techniques and solutions.

Schulung des Personals im Krankenhaus der Hoffnung

Practical training for the clinic staff in the "Hospital of Hope". Photo: humedica

At the end of our stay in the "Hospital of Hope" each station has installed one department team leader as well as standards to supervise the compliance with the new procedures. We also have established a program to enable the next teams to tie in seamlessly in our work.

The wish for improvement and change is well supported by both the clinic management and the senior medical staff. We therefore have great hopes, even the strong confidence, that the sustainable enhancement we have initiated at the "Hospital of Hope", will continue. One year of time now to establish the improvement measures – we will follow up!

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