Last week the Lamp for Haiti Health Center received a welcome addition. A very portable and very user-friendly EKG machine. After training, Medical Director Dr. Barrère Hyppolite put it to immediate good use, using it eight times on the day of its arrival.
The Lamp clinic in Bwa Nèf is a primary health care center, but it is also the first, and often the only, medical facility utilized by an enormous number of low income families from the surrounding portions of Cite Soleil. For this reason, the Lamp is constantly assessing the needs of the community in the interest of providing the most holistic care possible.
The ability to assess cardiac function and diagnose heart conditions is a valuable new tool for our doctors, made all the more valuable by its limited operating costs. The unit connects to a laptop and the results are printed out on an ordinary printer. For a relatively small initial investment of $4,000 we will be able to provide cardiology services for hundreds (or thousands) of patients. This is especially exciting when one realizes that patients would need to pay approximately 600 to 750 Haitian gourdes (i.e., 15 to 20 US dollars) for results at a hospital or private clinic. Although it does not sound like much, this cost almost always means that the patient simply does not receive an EKG. Average wages in Cité Soleil are less than a dollar a day. It is immensely satisfying to be able to provide this basic service as a matter of course.