After many months of talking and planning a medical team from International Medical Response (IMR) travelled to the Destra community in mis January for a training seminar for local healthcare agents, followed by a two-day free medical clinic. The IMR team was comprised of physicians, nurses and EMS techs, with this venture representing the inauguration of what will likely be an on-going collaboration between GOALS and IMR. Check out images from the trip here.
This initial trip was highly successful. Twelve trainees were tapped from the local community (many GOALS alumni) to engage in a day-long training seminar where basic medical principals were shared. They then assisted with patient care in the following days during the clinic. Nearly two hundred patients were seen, ranging from eight days old to 97 years, many of whom had rarely seen a physician prior. IMR also identified one of the trainees to serve as the local healthcare agent in Destra for follow up care, with remote support from IMR until the planned return in July 2019.
In addition to the large number of patients who were cared for at the clinic that were diagnosed and treated for a range of maladies from small infections to high blood pressure. There was a huge save for a 7-month pregnant mother who was identified as being at high risk and immediately was transported to the hospital. Her and her baby were saved due to emergency surgery. Without that diagnosis they both would have lost their lives.
Remote rural communities in Haiti are especially vulnerable as lacking infrastructure and economies keep people isolated without access to care. We are working to improve that.
As IMR and GOALS continue to work in partnership, we hope to establish an ongoing presence in the rural community of Destra. IMR's primary goals are to build a network of local healthcare agents on the ground to address the concerns of the community, and to create a triage system by which we can direct patients to the appropriate care they require.
This would not be possible without the support IMR has received from GOALS; they have been instrumental in providing the guidance required to addressing community needs directly. We look forward to building on this trip and creating a reliable service to the people of Destra.
Jonathan Kaplan MD
Joshua Schiller MD