A New “Script” for Haitian Health

IMG_1785-MDoctors call a prescription for medicine a script. Hollywood calls the story for a movie a script. We are in the process of creating a new prescription and a new story in how we partner for health in Haiti. We draw on the benefits of both the tried and true and the totally new.

What is that nagging pain in my tummy when I wake up in the morning? What should I do about it? Depending on whether I live in Colorado or Haiti I approach that question differently…and my options for care are drastically different.

As many of you know, years ago we started working to improve health care in Petit Trou.  A tremendous amount of good was achieved, and many lives were saved and improved, when we sent medical teams down to the clinic for weeks at a time to perform check-ups, surgeries, and treatments, or to provide diagnoses, inoculations and medications.  But our medical teams came home to Colorado at the end of their trips, and we started to envision a time when the people in Petit Trou could have access to health care every day, 365 days a year.

To start to build lasting infrastructure, we began a program to select and train community health workers – all women working in their local villages to improve basic care for all.  As you know, we also built water wells to provide clean water for better health.

The Colorado Haiti Project has now come to the next – and very exciting – chapter of our story in providing health care in Haiti, a model that is on the forefront of development work.  We are partnering with existing Haitian institutions to build a sustainable, locally-managed health care system that will make lasting change in the wider community of 30,000 people.  Our partners in this undertaking are the Haitian Ministry of Health, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, Paul Farmer’s organization Partners in Health, and the local community representatives in Petit Trou.

The impact of this work over time will include:

1.) Increased and equitable access to medical facilities, equipment, and medicine for all members of the community;

2.) An increase of health workers in the area, both in the villages and in the clinic;

3.) The development of a local Community Health Council, to ensure that the health care system adequately addresses community needs;

….all leading to better health care outcomes, such as a reduction in infant and maternal mortality.

We will continue to share this story with you as it unfolds!  Over the next 7 or more years, we intend and expect to change the quality and quantity of health care in Petit Trou, and embed those changes into a long-lasting system of health—prevention, intervention, treatment and aftercare. We hope you will support this transformation, with your donations, prayers and good wishes.

–Dennis Kennedy & Susan Everhart