The Women’s Health Clinic is one of the Lamp’s most valuable programs. In the past, women in this low-income community did not have an option for affordable care, so that prenatal check-ups, for example, were virtually unheard of. The majority of women also gave birth at home, in highly unhygienic conditions, due to the costs of delivery at a hospital. Complications in delivery resulted in many deaths. In Haiti, in general, 1 in 83 mothers die in childbirth (lifetime) and this number is higher in low income areas such as Cité Soleil.
The Lamp recognized immediately that services for women were a critical need, so that the Women’s Health Clinic has been a feature of the Lamp’s services since its earliest days. But the Women’s Clinic has grown dramatically over time. We expect to provide at least 450 mothers-to-be (and new mothers!) with regular check-ups in 2018.
Lamp services have also increased over time. This year we added ultrasound capability and also decided to include both delivery kits and infant kits in our regular service package. The kits have proven to be more than popular. They a great way to encourage expectant mothers to come in for regular check-ups since we only give kits to those that have come at least three times.
The area remains one of extreme poverty and many births still take place in homes, but the Lamp’s Women’s Clinic has become a well-loved community institution where women can expect to find professional care and genuine concern for their families’ health.
In 2018 we will be initiating a training program for community birth assistants, to reduce the risks of home births. Please stay tuned!
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!
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 email@example.com 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
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.
Lamp 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!
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!
adminMobile Clinic sees 230 people in a Single Day
For those readers who may not know the details, The Lamp Foundation (Lamp for Haiti) operates a full service, permanent, health center in Cité Soleil, which is a huge shantytown on the edge of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It is a primary and urgent care center which boasts an all-Haitian staff of 10, including two doctors. All who come are received! Patients receive a consultation with a doctor, lab tests, and medicine. Special services include a women’s clinic (which recently received an ultrasound machine!), a child nutrition program, EKG and X-ray.
Your donation will go directly to the clinic. It is a critical life-affirming institution in a desperately poor community.
Happy Giving Day(s)!
Note, by the way, that Facebook users have a special way to support the Lamp this season. Starting November 29th, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match donations to any Facebook fundraiser up to $1000, and Facebook is waiving all fees. The Gates Foundation match stays into effect until December 31 but only until their contribution (1M) runs out, so if you are willing to take the next step, consider starting one now! All donations can be doubled!
(Select The Lamp Foundation in Philadelphia, PA as your charity).
The Lamp is thrilled to announce that we have received a portable ultrasound unit, donated from Abington Hospital – Jefferson Health (just north of Philadelphia, PA). An ultrasound unit has been at the top of our priority needs list for the women’s clinic for some time now so it is a tremendous and timely contribution on the part of Abington Hospital! In addition to its ability to monitor fetal health, an ultrasound device is able to diagnose a range of other health conditions; it will be a terrific asset to the clinic as a whole.
The Lamp will ensure that the unit will continue to do productive work for a long time to come!
Pictured (left to right) are: Sabrina Harris (Senior Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Jefferson), Henry Reimer (Lamp ED), Jacqui Silverman, BSN , Pam Hawes (Lamp Treasurer), Bethany Perry, MD (Medical Director of the OB/GYN Clinic, Abington Hospital), Barbara Schneider, RN, and James Morgan MD (Lamp Founder and Chair of the Board)
Huge thanks to Abington Hospital for this vital contribution and special thanks to Jacqui Silverman for initiating this very valuable connection between the Lamp and Abington Hospital.
Flooding in Cite Soleil; neighborhood just adjacent to Lamp clinic
LES CAYES, HAITI – OCTOBER 14: A girl stands in her destroyed house on October 14, 2016 in a small village near Les Cayes, Haiti. Some regions are still cut off from the rest of the country. In some cities 80 per cent of the houses are destroyed or damaged. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Oct. 19, 2016 Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti two weeks ago, but the damage that it caused will take years to undo. Right now, more than 175,000 people are without a home, and the UN estimates that at least 1.4 million people are in urgent need of clean water, food and medicine. The southern edge of Haiti was worst hit, but the destruction was very widely spread. Friends living in the mountains, 50 miles north of Port-au-Prince, report a total destruction of crops, huge livestock deaths and hundreds of homes, schools and churches destroyed. In the south, massive relief operations by the UN and other large agencies are underway, but the need is very great.
In Cité Soleil, where the Lamp clinic is located, the damage caused by the storm itself was multiplied many times over by what took place next. Cité Soleil is a flat piece of land on the edge of the ocean, perhaps a foot above sea level. The storm surge caused the sea level to rise, flooding large portions of Cité Soleil with up to 3 feet of water (photo above). Open canals passing through Cité Soleil carry the sewage of all of Port-au-Prince to the ocean, so the water that has flooded all of these homes is deadly. We anticipate a great rise in bacterial infections in the days ahead; we hope that a major cholera outbreak will not occur but are making preparations for this far-from-unlikely eventuality. Smaller cholera outbreaks are already occurring throughout the South.
In an earlier bulletin (“Jim’s Message” on the home page) we mentioned that our clinic was spared any damage. For some reason – perhaps the presence of nearby sewage canals that channeled the storm surge further inland – the area immediately next to the clinic did not flood. It is a mystery and a great blessing. We mentioned, too, that the safety of staff families was uncertain. Happily, this fear has also resolved itself in a positive way. The roof of our driver’s home was torn off but his family is safe and are living at a neighbor’s home. The home of a former nurse of the Lamp was completely destroyed but she too is safe. In that portion of the southern arm of Haiti (called Nippes) the destruction was extreme; virtually every home is damaged or destroyed. All crops and livestock have been lost, and many wells and other water sources contaminated by the storm surge.
At least 500 people were killed during the storm itself, but it will be a desperate year for many, many people. The rainy season is nearly over; there will be no more crops planted this year. The storm toll will very certainly rise in the months to come. As always, then, keep Haiti in your heart. Please give generously — to the Lamp or any other reputable organization that is making a difference. Remember, as the Lamp byline says: we are one human family.
Lamp nurses: Ms Saillant, Ms Astrude and Ms Saint-Fleur
The Lamp “campus” in Bwa Nèf, Cité Soleil has come a long way since 2008, when we first moved to our current location. The first Lamp clinic was established in three small residential buildings in the middle of a maze of tiny cement block and corrugated tin houses. Now the clinic boasts a new two-room building (for women’s clinic and x-ray), a public toilet, two covered seating areas, various store-rooms and a surrounding wall. Those three original buildings, however, remain the core of the clinic – they house the primary exam rooms, the lab and now, the pharmacy.
The pharmacy you see pictured was once a leaky tin-roofed house, where we originally conducted initial triage and public education sessions. The building has been expanded and the tin roof replaced with concrete. Tile floors and new cupboards complete the picture.
The pharmacy represents something of the philosophy of Lamp itself: starting with local resources and gradually, organically, building strengths in response to local needs.
The cement roof, by the way, is already showing its value. Hurricane Matthew did not strike Port-au-Prince directly, as it passed this week, but even relatively high winds and rain can cause dramatic damage to flimsy tin roofs. Although our clinic was spared any damage, we know that thousands of homes have been destroyed in the worst hit areas. Please keep Haiti in your thoughts!