by Rev. Vernon GiesbrechtSadly, the country of Haiti appears at the top of a number of statistical scales. In the Western Hemisphere, it ranks as the poorest nation, has the highest death rate (12.2 per 1000), and the highest infant mortality rate of 72 deaths per 1000 live births. (2006) Deficient sanitation systems, poor nutrition, and inadequate health services have pushed Haiti to the bottom of the World Bank’s rankings of health indicators. With 80% of the population living below the poverty line, malnutrition is rampant with half of all Haitian children considered undersized. In terms of health care spending, the country ranks last in the Western Hemisphere. Most rural areas have no access to health care, making these people susceptible to otherwise treatable diseases. A sad picture, indeed!
“When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying His hands on them, He healed them.”(Luke 4: 40)
Since 1987, seeking to be the “hands of Jesus”, Double Harvest has offered medical services to the local area surrounding its project. In 2004, a new medical clinic became operational increasing the level of care to include surgeries and dental and eye care. Since then, 8-10 surgical teams from the U.S. visit each year to augment the daily care offered by the Haitian staff. Story after story could be told of how a routine operation has transformed the life of an individual suffering for years from a treatable condition. Recently a medical team conducted a community health clinic in some of the poorest villages in the area. Two tents and two tables under a shade tree, one for dispensing pharmaceuticals and the other for dressings and injections, became the “clinic” for the three doctors and four nurses. In four days, almost 700 patients were seen; complaints included malnourishment, severe abdominal pain, hydrocephalic babies, ear and fungal infections, parasites, and malaria. Hernias, hydro cells, and fibroids were put on a list for surgery this month when another medical team will be present. For many, spiritual healing also began as literature and prayer were offered by fellow Christian Haitians!