Canal Project Completed

A major building project was completed this quarter, namely a 150 yard drainage canal that will drain mosquito infested standing water and reduce flooding in the neighborhood adjacent to the Lamp for Haiti Health Center.  The project will have tremendous benefits for all of the families along its path.  Even more importantly, perhaps, the canal was built entirely with local labor.  As of August 30th, the Lamp has spent approximately $17,000 on labor costs alone, here in Bwa Nèf, in 2017.  This is an enormous infusion of earnings for the community.  Projects have included the canal, a “peace garden” adjacent to the clinic, and renovations of the public toilets and the main clinic building.  For a massively underemployed population, this is one of the most significant side benefits of having the Lamp health center in the midst of the community.  The dual impact of these projects mean that this is money doubly well spent.  The Lamp is building community in more ways than one.

For other stories from the latest newsletter, click here!

Early construction

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Child Nutrition Program Quadruples

In Bwa Nèf, home of the Lamp Health Center, malnutrition is a serious and ever-present threat to child health and long term development.  The Lamp’s child nutrition program provides peanut-butter based therapeutic foods and other health services to severely malnourished children aged 6 months to five years old.

In the past, severely malnourished children who came to the clinic were placed into the nutrition program by the attending doctor, and the Lamp also conducted assessments in local schools.

But this year the number of children in the program has exploded to more than four times the level of previous years.  One hundred and thirty five children were added to the program in the last six months alone.  The reason for this is simple: this year marked the first time in which the Lamp has employed Community Health Workers to visit each home in the surrounding community.  The CHWs, who make health needs assessments for each family, ended up discovering a great many children who were suffering from malnutrition.  This was heartbreaking in one sense, but worth celebrating in another because, right now, about 40 of those children are back to a healthy weight and the others are steadily putting on the pounds.

The combination of outreach, through the CHW program, and child nutrition services have resulted in an incalculable benefit to the community.

The program costs the Lamp approximately $75 per child.  If any reader would like to consider organizing a fundraiser for this program, please contact the Lamp at admin@lampforhaiti.org or call at (267) 499-0516!

Richanda at start of program

Richanda half-way through program

Receiving packets of therapeutic food

Ms Alissage, the nurse that manages the child nutrition program

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Persistence, Expertise and Community Buy-In Generate Results

“Cocktails for a Cause” supports local doctor’s initiative in Haiti

 

When Montclair native Dr. Jim Morgan had been providing medical services for a few years in
Cité Soleil, an area scourged by terrible poverty in Port au Prince Haiti, he was approached by
one of the local women who had been working with him since he started the Lamp for Haiti Health
Center in 2006.

 
“How long,”she asked, “will you keep coming back?” His answer: “Until they put earth over my
body.” Fast forward a few years when a powerful earthquake devastated the beleaguered island
and Dr. Morgan almost overnight found a flight to Haiti and got a cab to the Lamp health center.
He was greeted by Jesalah, the woman who had questioned his commitment a few years back. “I
can’t believe you are here,” she wept. Dr. Morgan took her hands and said, “I told you I would
be.”

Being there, in the midst of the dire poverty, the lack of sanitation, running water and electricity;
being there, after the earthquake, after the hurricanes and tropical storms, and after many NGOs
and volunteers have left the island in despair, is what Lamp for Haiti does.  And that commitment
to taking care of the health needs of part of a community of 300,000 people living on less the $1
day has won the respect of the local people for The Lamp, and their full participation in its growth.

In the 11 years since Dr. Morgan and a few like-minded people, including his wife, Ellen
Cunningham, M.D., decided that they could provide, “some level of dignity” to the people of Bwa
Nef, the neighborhood in Cité Soleil where they have located the health center, both the numbers
of people served and the staff have grown. And the staff is entirely Haitian,  a number of whom
live in Cité Soleil. Fifteen men and women - two doctors, five nurses, a lab technician, community
health workers and other staff - provide primary care and emergency care and health education.
Five years ago maternal and child health care was added; more than 13,000 patients are treated
with children counting for nearly half.

As much as health care is desperately needed in a land where malaria, cholera, HIV-Aids are
endemic, that is not all the area needs nor all that The Lamp does. Besides providing health care
and related jobs within the health center, Dr. Morgan noted that the The Lamp creates jobs
around it.

“People sell drinks and snacks outside the clinic and we use local workers for capital projects,” he
said. Recently, The Lamp had to have a $10,000 drainage canal built and all the labor was local.
And, In addition to building and maintaining other sanitation projects, including a public toilet, The
Lamp also offers tuition sponsorship to more than 30 children.

Dr. Morgan recounted how the level of deprivation around the clinic can be mind-boggling to
outsiders. And adding to this deprivation, the slow pace of any progress and bureaucratic
roadblocks  have led to abandonment by some foreign aid organizations, workers and volunteers.
“When we first started,” Dr. Morgan said, “The people here had had it up to here with outsiders
coming in, meaning well, dropping stuff off, starting mobile clinics, taking photos and walking
away.” People are well-intentioned, he added, but there has to be a willingness to listen, a hunger
for input from the people in the community. Without legitimate buy-in from the community,
“programs don’t stand a chance.”

Persistence, expertise and community buy-in are the reasons Lamp for Haiti has succeeded.
From its start as an effort by a few well-meaning Americans to distribute medications to needy
Haitians, the Lamp has developed more and more of a Haitian identity, with Haitians providing
health care and coordinating with other Haitian agencies in the area to serve thousands of people
who would otherwise do without. With a $400,000 annual operating budget, Dr. Morgan and the

Haitian and American staff have their work cut out.  But Dr. Morgan’s guiding principle never
wavers. “I have the capacity to impact lives - to makes lives worth living, the way my life is -  that’s what
connects me to the Lamp for Haiti,” he said. “And I want other people - here and in Haiti - to feel
connected to that work too.”

Written by: Noreen Connolly
Media Representative: Cocktails for a Cause
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Hurricane Irma spares Haiti

It sometimes seems as though Haiti must suffer through each disaster that visits the region but in this case there is cause for celebration not sorrow. The impact of Hurricane Irma on Haiti was much less than feared. The north of Haiti experienced some violent winds but in the Port-au-Prince area, where the Lamp for Haiti Health Center is located, there was no significant damage. The Health Center was closed for a day to allow staff to prepare for the coming storm but in the end those precautions were — happily — unnecessary. The day after the hurricane passed, Friday, September 8th, the Health Center welcomed patients as always.

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The Clinic Gains an Ultrasound

As reported last year, Abington Hospital near Philadelphia contributed an ultrasound unit to the Lamp. We can now report, with utmost pleasure, that the ultrasound machine has been in full use for many months. Transporting the unit to Haiti was far from an easy task. Shipping it would have incurred a tremendous customs fee, so it was dismantled and carried over, piece by piece, in personal baggage. Happily enough, we were also able to re-assemble it on the other side! While waiting for all of the pieces to arrive, our staff took courses on advanced imaging interpretation and were able to put the unit to use the same day that it was assembled. We had often asked clients at the women’s health clinic about their satisfaction with our services and the word had always come back loud and clear: please add ultrasound! Well, the satisfaction meter has taken a terrific swing upwards. The ultrasound adds a very substantial capacity to improve care for expectant mothers and many other patients, male and female. A key tool has been added to the Lamp’s diagnostic toolbox.

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The Spring Campaign is a Success!

Our Spring Campaign this year focused on the Lamp’s services for children.  Fully one third of all of our patients are six years old or less!  The women’s health clinic is also a key part of the Lamp Health Center and this means that our doctors see a lot of very young infants as well.

Our goal for the campaign was to raise $25,000 for children’s services.  In fact, due to the generosity of many people, we easily exceeded this target.  The total raised was $26,962!  This level of health care funding will have an immediate and real impact on the lives of children in need.  We will be able to move forward with all four activities that we were hoping to fund:

  • We will be able to purchase a full range of essential medicines in special pediatric formats and doses;
  • We will hold health fairs in two local schools and provide each child in two grades with a new pair of shoes;
  • We will be able to give at least 200 expectant mothers a new infant kit – something we have not done before!
  • We have already given our staff the word to expand our child nutrition program, and will add at least 50 children to that program in the coming months.

It is a privilege to be able to pass on this great news to our staff in Haiti!  Thanks to everyone that participated!

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The Lamp Goes to City Hall

The Lamp is always eager to work in partnership with any organization that seeks to improve conditions in Cité Soleil.  This principle certainly includes collaboration with the government, both national and local.  Our recently established Community Health Worker program, for example, takes full advantage of our collaboration with Haiti’s Ministry of Health.  Because of this partnership we are able to put our own staff into the Ministry’s training courses and utilize health education materials that have been developed and approved by the Ministry.

Last week we took a new step in this direction.  We held our first mobile clinic at City Hall in Cité Soleil.  The name Cité Soleil is typically used to denote the huge shanty town on the edge of Port-au-Prince (where the Lamp’s Health Center is located) but it is, in fact, also a “commune” – that is, a municipality with its own mayor.  The mobile clinic was organized in direct collaboration with Mayor Huslain Frederick, a politician with a genuine desire to make a positive impact.  The joint effort increases the standing of the Lamp in the larger community and allowed us to provide medical services to a whole new population.  We will continue to explore this partnership.

Despite the normal difficulty of setting up in a new location, Lamp doctors saw 235 people and continue to follow up with those who need ongoing care.  “It was a hard and beautiful journey in Cité Soleil” said our Medical Director, Dr. Hyppolite.

 

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Message from Jim – Spring Campaign Launch!

Jim and EllenLamp founder Dr. James Morgan and his wife Dr. Ellen Cunningham put out the word that the Lamp’s Spring Campaign is underway. The campaign highlights the fact that 45% of patients at the Lamp’s Health Center in Cite Soleil, Haiti, are children. To learn more about the campaign, click here!

Jim's Spring letter

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Mobile Clinic sees 230 people in a Single Day

March 10, 2017Mobile clinic 1

The Lamp for Haiti Health Center is located in a desperately poor neighborhood called Bwa Nef, a neighborhood within the enormous slum area called Cité Soleil (City of the Sun).  People of this neighborhood are extremely appreciative of the services we provide but we know that hundreds of thousands of persons, in the neighborhoods surrounding the health center, are also in need of medical care.  Any one of them could come to our health center and receive care, but they may not know about this possibility.  Also, travel within Cité Soleil is dangerous, even for its residents.  Rival gangs control the various neighborhoods.  The Lamp’s mobile clinic program, therefore, answers (a very small part) of the tremendous need that surrounds us.

Last week the Lamp held a mobile clinic at a community organization that serves the nearby areas of Cité Lumière, and Twa Bebe (City of Light, and Three Babies).  This organization, called Sakala, is a close partner of the Lamp; we have held several mobile clinics at its facilities.  Three additional doctors were engaged for the day, including two pediatricians, and several support staff.  It was a tiring and gratifying day, with over 230 people receiving consultations, lab tests and medicine.

Now, the Lamp is planning to expand its mobile clinic program.  Our goal is to provide one mobile clinic per month, from a previous level of four per year.  Happily enough, we have been given strong encouragement from the new Mayor of Cité Soleil, who has agreed to facilitate these mobile clinics in various locations throughout Cité Soleil.  We hope that this collaboration will be a very fruitful one.  The expansion will raise many practical difficulties for us, but the need is very great and we don’t wish to look the other way when our neighbors are suffering!  This program is something that we can offer to the community at large and we want to take up that challenge!

Mobile Clinic 2

 

 

 

 

 

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