Haiti Update - May 2015

by Vernon Giesbrecht

A HEALTH CRISIS “Call 911! Take him to emergency! This is a reminder: Your doctor’s appointment is scheduled for…! We have referred you to a specialist! Just take your prescription to the drug store!” These are all medical references we take for granted in the West when our health is affected. Sadly, the health services available to us every day are few and far between or non-existent in developing countries. Add to this picture, deficient sanitation systems and poor nutrition and you have increased health problems alongside inadequate care facilities to meet the overwhelming needs, many of them treatable. This describes Haiti, close to the bottom of the World Bank’s rankings of health indicators and last in health care spending in the Western Hemisphere! A sad picture indeed.

Medical Surgical Clinic Waiting Area Serving Health Needs Together
Medical Surgical Clinic Waiting Area Serving Health Needs Together

MEETING THE NEED – Double Harvest’s central mission is developing agricultural projects in third world countries. But, we also desire to meet people’s physical needs through compassion ministries. Since 1987, in Haiti we have offered medical services to the local area surrounding our 200 acre project through our Medical-Surgical Clinic. Entirely Haitian staffed, the Clinic sees 80-100 patients each work day, providing consultations, care, prescriptions, hygiene education, dental and eye care. Patients needing surgeries are recorded and matched with the specialties on the 8-10 surgery teams that visit each year. Since January, we’ve hosted six such teams. Story after story could be told of how a routine operation has transformed the life of an individual suffering from a treatable condition. Of course, as is our practice, physical care occurs in an atmosphere of spiritual care. Daily devotional times with waiting patients, medical and Christian DVDs playing on a flat screen, and individual prayer express our belief that spiritual need goes hand in hand with relieving physical suffering. While patients are charged a reasonable amount (80% live in poverty), the services offered are still highly subsidized by generous donations from people like you. We thank you and encourage you to “spread the word”.

Prepped for Surgery This Little One Did Great!
Prepped for Surgery This Little One Did Great!
Surgery Saved This Patient

EXAMPLES OF CARE – One team focused on conducting remote medical & dental clinics in villages and orphanages a further distance from our Clinic. Hundreds of patients were seen! During a week, a surgery team will perform 70-100 operations, such as hernia repairs, breast lesion excisions, hysterectomies, lipoma, cyst, fibroid & hydrocele removals, abscess repairs and circumcisions. Recently, 55 cataract surgeries were done on children and adults and the first two cornea transplants in Haiti! Once practically blind; now these people can see!

The The
Rural Clinics with Medical Team Cataract Surgeries-First Two Cornea Transplants!
Born with Cataracts-Now He can See & Read!

These medical missions have affected team members too. One man writes: “It felt great to get out of my own little world and put my selfish ways aside.” He had resented his missionary parents who “gave all to serve others.” “The trip to Haiti was more than a surgical mission for me; it was also a spiritual awakening.” This is the ‘double harvest” we desire!

Vernon Giesbrecht
N. A. Coordinator