On this 2nd year anniversary of the earthquake, the US staff at C2C continues to stand in solidarity with the millions of Haitians who lost loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods and their access to health care. As I read the commentaries and funding reports leading up today, I remain disheartened at the larger picture of what has not happened in Haiti in the past 2 years. Yet, when I think about what happens on a daily basis at the C2C clinic at Grace Children’s Hospital on Delmas 31- we are proud to be part of the rebuilding of Haiti. We regularly collate health data and surveys from the C2C clinic and we are excited to have accomplished our mission of providing high quality health care to women and infants.
It has not been an easy year for anyone working or living in Haiti. When I drive from the Coconut Villa Hotel to the clinic, I cannot imagine trying to raise children or fall ill AND still be living in a tattered tent on the steamy, congested streets of Port-au-Prince. The lack of security for young women and girls who return home after dark is obvious and horrific. My public health eye immediately fears for the child who plays in the grey water that pools outside the molded family tent. It is heartbreaking to consider that a family that is struggling to rebuild has to tolerate the unbearable temperature that registers inside their tent at midday.
When I imagine what that is like, I am frustrated at the slow pace of rebuilding but when I arrive at the C2C clinic, I am struck by the clean and orderly environment that allows the staff to deliver health care services to dozens of pregnant women and their infants every day. We have conducted surveys of the women who attend the clinic and these are a few of the things that they appreciated:
- “The clinics are well equipped and the waiting area is always clean
- The clinics are always open and staffed with highly trained, motived and caring clinicians, technicians and nurses
- The quality of care and support is very high,
- The cost of the visit is very low
- and prescriptions are filled at almost every visit.”
When I founded C2C three years ago, these types of comments would have spelled success for an idea that had swirled around in my head for years after I returned from two decades working in clinical medicine and for international health organizations. We certainly were not sure that we could deliver the high quality care that we are committed to providing when the clinics arrived in Port-au Prince in June of 2010–6 months after the earthquake. I had never seen such devastation, shattered infrastructure and barriers to health care. I know now that our success can be wholeheartedly attributed to the commitment and enthusiasm of the Haitian staff that are employed by Grace Children’s Hospital and work at the C2C clinic—namely Dr’s Roche and Justin, Natacha Denis, Enock Dorcelly, lab technicians and security personnel. The leadership at Grace including Wesley Romulus, Dr. Frederic Vilme, Hoverlaw Prou and Jocelyne Arnoux, have been true partners and enablers of the C2C model.
On this 2nd year anniversary we are proud to be considered as a partner in this innovative solution that has allowed nearly 9,000 maternal patients to receive treatment at the clinic. We are grateful to our other partners, Management Sciences for Health, especially Dr. Georges DuBuche, who practically pulled the clinics out of customs with Kathleen Fleming 18 months ago and a huge thanks to Brian Hoyer and Rachel Granger at AmeriCares for their friendship, integrity and donation of pharmaceuticals.
My vision was never to drop in a shipping container clinic and hope the recipient could keep it running to provide care to women. The C2C model acknowledges that no one organization can rebuild alone and we have found that the strength of partnership has enriched our model, our learning and our lives. Thank you for the opportunity to work in Haiti–we look forward to treating more women and learning more from the C2C staff.