Lamp for Haiti’s COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends-

I am writing to update you about Lamp’s local preparation in Haiti for the COVID-19 outbreak, now an official pandemic. 

I have been in discussions with our in-country medical director, Dr Barrere Hyppolite, who in turn has been in regular contact with Ministry of Health in Haiti (MSPP). As of present, there are no confirmed cases in Haiti. 

However, the  coronavirus infection has been diagnosed in the Dominican Republic, which of course shares the island with Haiti. In addition, the greater New York area seems to be the latest “hotspot” of infection, and with its large Haitian diaspora who travel home regularly, it seems inevitable the infection will spread there. Here is a link to an updated map of areas infected worldwide. 

MSPP has announced their capacity to test for coronavirus. If a patient is suspected of having the virus, our staff will contact Ministry of Health. The patient is sent to a dedicated testing site, and the specimen is processed at the National Laboratory in Port-au-Prince. 

Our staff has been instructed on personal protection and we are in the process of trying to procure more equipment (goggles and gowns) to keep them safe.  Masks are provided to staff and to patients who cough. Hand washing and hygiene education is being given by our nursing staff to patients awaiting care at Lamp. The situation is evolving and under continuous review.

Thanks for reading this update, and for continuing to engage in solidarity with our one human family. 

Please take good care of yourselves and take seriously the need for precautions at this time.

My best to you,
James Morgan, MD
Medical Director/Board President
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Why Remember

Tomorrow, we mark the tenth anniversary of one of the most horrific natural disasters on the planet in the past 100 years. A magnitude 7.0 earthquake, or trembleman té, struck just outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince shortly before 5pm on January 12, 2010. In its wake, the earthquake led to the loss of over 100,000 lives, left about one and a half million people homeless and countless lives shattered. 

I was present soon after that earthquake hit, working closely with our Lamp for Haiti health center staff in the huge shantytown known as Cite Soleil, as well as with partner organizations like St Damien’s Hospital and CMMB (Christian Medical Mission Board). I saw massive destruction throughout the city, and heard the cries of wounded and dying. I heard, too, the similarly pitched wails of those scarred by the tragic loss of someone they dearly loved. I smelled death that week, literally; even today the memory of that smell returns unexpectedly from time to time.

So why remind ourselves of such a terrible day?

Some say that recalling the earthquake is too painful, and we ought not conjure that day again. It’s too much to bear. Others have suggested to me that pain is an inevitable part of being human, and even a major disaster is not completely unexpected. As such it is yet one more valley, albeit a deep one, in the roller-coaster that is life. We just need to keep moving forward. 

I would side with those who posit a third perspective. It is a perspective which looks at the catastrophe as a starting point, almost a chance to reset.

It’s no surprise to anyone who follows Lamp’s work or who follows events in Haiti that both human-incited and natural disasters have made daily life in Haiti a challenge. But that challenge has not gone unanswered by most Haitians, and we at Lamp, have walked in solidarity along with them in formulating a concrete response to extreme adversity. 

When we started Lamp back in 2005, we had one doctor and one manager, working two half-days per week. We hadn’t the resources to support anything more. We had to start somewhere, and with trepidation we began to walk on wobbly legs, confident that the mission of Lamp for Haiti would steady our gait. I recall when we had resolved our first “labor concerns” – staff were uncomfortable taking public transportation into Cite Soleil, as they felt they were targets for thieves; they were right, and we soon purchased our first vehicle — it coincided with the end of a remarkable first year. We knew at the time that once the question shifted from “Do we dare even consider trying such a project?“ to “That we are doing this is a given, now how do we navigate the next obstacle?” it would mark a turning point. Once the project’s existence was seen as more than an experiment, but became part of the fabric of a community, then we were confident we could build local support. 

In the wake of the earthquake ten years ago, Lamp staff came together, supported by generous donors, to expand our work and our footprint in Cite Soleil. Initially we hired trucks to dispense water , for example. Next we repaired a local water station in concert with the Haitian Kwa-Wouj (Red Cross). Today we help to manage three water stations, partnering with a local community leader and DINEPA, the water utility. 

We have continued to walk with the mission in our collective mind’s eye. Our programming has grown substantially. We now have 21 (!) staffers in Haiti, including one part-time and three full-time doctors, expanding the breadth of our primary care impact. We recently were asked by the Ministry of Health (MSPP) to become an official vaccine provider in Cite Soleil. (MSPP does not make such requests unless the organization is very well vetted. ) 

It is fitting for us to remember, then, on this day, not only as a way to honor the fallen, but as impetus for us to recalibrate, and reinvigorate and recommit. 

Thanks for being a part of this day, of this work, and of the movement that is Lamp for Haiti. 

– Dr. James Morgan, Jan. 11, 2020

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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

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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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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Supporting Lamp for Haiti’s Community Health Workers Initiative

Supporting Lamp for Haiti’s Community Health Workers Initiative

Thank you for your support. Your financial and promotional contribution to this campaign will help us improve the quality of care for hundreds of residents living in Cite Soleil, Haiti.

You can help our campaign by:

  1. Donating

You can donate to Lamp for Haiti’s campaign by clicking on the campaign link on our website at, going directly to, or by going to and typing “LampforHaiti’ or ‘The Lamp Foundation” in the search bar.

  1. Sharing this campaign on your social media

CrowdRise allows users to directly share this campaign on their Facebook and Twitter pages by clicking on the links provided. To share this campaign on other social media outlets, such as LinkedIn, you can copy the following text onto your page

 Hi Everyone,

Please help an organization I really care about raise money to provide health care services in Haiti. You can check out their crowdfunding campaign here:

  1. Forwarding this campaign via email to your contacts

Cut and paste or forward the letter included in this tool kit in the body of the email to your contacts

 Starting or supporting a Lamp for Haiti (The Lamp Foundation) team fundraiser on our CrowdRise page

 Starting a Fundraiser

Scroll to the bottom half of our page and click on ‘JOIN THE TEAM’. This option requires you to sign in using your Facebook page. Please Note: Lamp for Haiti will not have access to your Facebook page this way, and CrowdRise does not use your Facebook account to solicit you or post anything on your page, this is just an option to easily sign into CrowdRise.

The second option is to sign up for CrowdRise which you can do by providing your name, email address and a password you created. Once you sign up you will be considered a team member of this specific campaign and you can use a photo of yourself to represent your page and write messages to your team. Please Note: If you choose this option, Lamp for Haiti’s description of the campaign will automatically populate onto your page.

Supporting a Team Member’s Fundraiser

Go directly to, click the donate button and select the team member you would like to support from the drop down option on the donate page.



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