Freshening Up The Clinic - Spring 2012
It's been 5 years since the clinic opened in 2007. Since then, it has served thousands of people every year. Our concrete
buildings are well built and even withstood the tremors that we felt in the 2010 earthquake. But as with any buildings that are used by so many people every year, they need painting.
This Spring, our Clinic Assistant Manager, Junior Charles, organized
some of the young people of Thomassique to help paint at the clinic.
donated paint that we sent to the Clinic in our sea containers last year, they got started on this project! A lot of painting
remains to be done, by the Thomassique Youth Group, and with help by visiting teams from the U.S.
The Thomassique Youth Group
has also been involved with the planting of trees, and gardening. So far, they have planted dozens of trees, including fruit
trees that will provide nutritional supplements. The Youth Group will continue to care for the trees.
The Youth Group was formed last year to encourage young people from Thomassique
to help improve their town. One of the first things they have focused on is planting trees. For many years, the
residents of Haiti have been cutting down trees to make charcoal for cooking. That deforestation has led to extremely
poor soil conditions. The trees that the Youth Group is planting will not only yield edible food but also help to
replenish the soil and decrease erosion.
|Thomassique's Youth Group at work helping their community,
painting the Medical Missionaries Clinic Buildings. |
EARLIER NEWS FROM THE CLINIC:
New Clinic Wing
A new wing is being added to the rear of St. Joseph clinic to accommodate
the needs of patients who have to stay at the clinic overnight. Until now, we have not had facilities for patients who
need extended recovery time. The 56' by 32' wing will accommodate up to 20 patients and a family member. (Family
members normally accompany patients to prepare their meals and attend to their non-medical needs during recuperation.)
Ground was broken and the foundation for the wing was poured in June (2009), prior to the onset of the heavy rainy season.
Further construction was halted until the end of the rainy season (November). Work was resumed in February 2010, and
is slated for completion in April. The interior of the wing will be an open design, with movable walls that will allow
for various configurations depending on the composition of the patient population at different times.
results of a pilot home-based water purification study indicated that the two systems tested were effective, solar disinfection
and granulated chlorine. Even as the data from that study are more fully analyzed, work proceeded to expand the use
of solar disinfection in 60 additional houses in eastern Thomassique. Two students from Duke University spent the summer
promoting the use of solar disinfection and educating residents in the proper use of system. They also worked with the directors
of eight schools in Thomassique to introduce hygiene programs that include water purification, hand washing, and the use of
latrines. That required the construction of new latrines at four of the schools.
With a grant from the Gerard Health Foundation, Medical Missionaries will be expanding the
use of water purification in Thomassique and its surrounding villages, installing this Klorfasil water system in 3,500 households
in 2010. The system uses granulated chlorine and purifies 5 gallons of water from any source within 30 minutes.
Our water purification program will include education on the importance of using purified water for drinking, hand washing,
and washing dishes, as well as instruction on how to use the system properly to avoid re-contamination of water once it is
purified. Radio talk shows and public service ads will form part of the marketing campaign, along with banners, posters,
and a kiosk in the weekly markets in Thomassique.
Salt Project Launches
Medical Missionaries is partnering with the University of Notre Dame
Haiti Program to help the people of Thomassique eliminate two health problems in the region. Lymphatic Filariasis is a parasitic disease that causes disfiguring conditions of the legs and genitalia and
often becomes debilitating. Iodine deficiency limits the development of the brains of children and, in
some cases of both children and adults, causes goiter, cretinism, and other serious health problems. The
University of Notre Dame, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,
fortifies salt with DEC (diethylcarbamazine) and iodine without changing the taste or other characteristics of salt.
Salt fortified with DEC is an effective way to interrupt the transmission of LF, while salt fortified with iodine promotes
brain development in children. The co-fortified salt addresses these diseases in tandem. Learn more about the launch of this project in a blog from our Medical Missionaries Global Health Fellows.
Maintaining Clinic Facilities
A small team of Medical Missionaries
volunteers visited the clinic in September to perform maintenance on several of the clinic's infrastructure systems, including
water, electricity, and the generator. See a visual report from that visit. Another facilities team visited the clinic in February 2010 with the primary goal of strengthening
the water tower and repairing some underground drainage pipes.