Thursday, March 11, 2010

Malaria, Vehicles, Mosquito Nets, Beds, Nursing : News From Cap-Haitien Haiti

Bonjou tout moun

Another busy week in Cap-Haitien Haiti: Malaria returns, Inspecting a vehicle with view to purchase, mosquito nets and beds, and outfitting student nurse for return to Leogane to work in field hospital. And through it all, intermittent hydro and rain,rain and more rain.
(Click on an image to enlarge, then click Back to return to this post)

Malaria drugs, Cloroquine Resistance

Our second (Alex) and third (Wilta) cases of malaria were recently confirmed, and we have our third case of cloroquine resistance: Rosema.

Gaby and DIeunet are also cloroquine resistant. Tuesday we sent Edwina for Malaria testing. We had to postpone her home visit, as when we arrived, we found she was very ill.

We left her some meds for fever, pain and nausea, and asked her to promise that she would send us a message (bay komisyon) with Rosenie the next morning to let us know if she needed anything.  We should have her clinic results today (Thursday).

Good thing I purchased Mefloquin and Malarone in Canada before travelling. These antimalarials  are so needed. Cloroquine is always prescribed first, as travel clinics refuse to believe there is Cloroquine resistance in Haiti.

For Rosema, we followed up with Mefloquine. We had enough for one patient only. If more cloroquine resistant cases occur, we can use the prescription for Malerone, the newest anti malarial.

Mosquito nets, Beds
The need for beds (kabann yo) and mosquito nets (mustike yo) is ongoing. We purchase mosquito nets from a marchand at our corner, and also in the market.

As beds are expensive and difficult to find, we are trying a large piece of foam suitable for use as a mattress.

We purchased one to cover the sofa frame where the kids sit on the gallery. It is about the size of a double bed, 5 inches thick and seems quite durable, so we've purchased 3.

Sherlyne (who received hers last Saturday) says it works well so we distributed the other 2 this week. Finding a taxi that can accommodate the awkward size mattress was the big challenge.

We have always been short of beds for our students, and have only been able to provide perhaps a dozen for our 100+ kids. Malaria is worse in Winter (rainy season), so there's a more urgent need to get kids off the ground and surrounded by an effective mosquito net, rather that than see them suffer with Malaria. From experience, Malaria is hell. So is sleeping on bare cement or wet earth.

Buy a Vehicle in Haiti: Mechanic Inspection
There are many used vehicles for sale in Cap-Haitien, so it's necessary to have a good mechanic inspect it before buying.

We are looking at a 2004 Mitsubishi diesel truck, with double cab, in excellent condition, according to our mechanic's inspection and to Jud who knows every vehicle in Cap.

Our mechanic recommended that the seller drop the price by several thousand dollars, which he did. The lower price is still more than we can afford but at least now we know good used vehicles exist.

For background on buying vehicles in Haiti, see previous blog entries:

Jack, Auguste and Dieugrand have driver licences. Rosenie is starting driver training this week, and I will renew my international drivers permit when next in Canada.

Student Nurse Update : Gaby in Leogane

Gaby, who has been dealing with post trauma shock, went back down to Leogane after  a very long talk with me on Monday March 1st.

When he phoned to let us know he had arrived, he sounded much happier than he had prior to going. He had wanted to change nursing schools and stay in Cap-Haitien to study; He did not want to go to Leogane again but bravely decided he needed to talk to the Doyenne, Mme Alcindor, before making final decision.

When he came back from this trip (the trip back to Cap-Haitien was very difficult as regular bus routes are still not running), he told me that, after an inspiring talk with the Doyenne, he decided  that his place was there working with other students and an international team of doctors and nurses in the field hospital that used to be his school

L'hopital St. Croix,
the hospital in Leogane, was destroyed in the earthquake. What was once his dorm is now being used as the operating room; The next dorm is now the Maternity ward and one more room is used for recovery and urgent care.

Gaby had lost everything in the earthquake, and after combing the Cap-Haitien market for scrubs and other items, Rosenie, Sherlyne and I helped him find shoes, jeans and Tshirts from the Christmas boxes that we picked up Wednesday.

What a lifesaver, as the only clothes he had were on his back and everything, including his shoes, was soaking wet.

The need for medical help in Haiti is still great and Gaby is very happy to be able to go back and work. Students and medical staff  are sleeping in tents behind the school. Everyone receives one meal a day at noon. There appears to be enough meds etc. He phoned to tell me he's safe and is working nights, sleeping days.

I'm relieved after the phone call and grateful for cell phone presence in a country with little in the way of reliable communication.

Recap of Students Starthrower Supports
This school year we have 100 students in secondary school. Half of them are in school in the mountain village of Sen Rafayel and the other half are in Cap-Haitien.

In addition we have half a dozen who are apprenticing in trades (carpenters, mechanics, masons) and another 13 in post secondary settings:
  • 4 in nursing school in Leogane, west of Port-au-Prince.
  • 2 in pre med in the Dominican Republic
  • 2 in 3rd year agriculture at the Univerity of Limbe
  • 1 in 2nd yr medical technology in Madelene       
  • 1 in 2nd year kindergarten teacher training in Cap-Haitien
  • 2 in first year teacher training in Madelene in Cap-Haitien
  • 1 in first year electrical engineering, in Port-au-Prince

One of our university students studying medical technology was killed in Port-au-Prince; 2 others were injured and I have left them off the list as do not know if injuries will keep them out of school.

In addition, there are several students on a waiting list for post secondary support but we just don't have the funds. We never know from one semester to the next if we will have enough funding for those already in school to continue as school fees are fluid in nature.

The number of Starthrower students in post secondary is remarkable, and we are very proud of their hard work and accomplishments.  For those who are new Starthrowers, see the Haiti national exams post.

Pi ta


Related Posts with Thumbnails