Posted by Chapin on Jan 26 2010
Long-time Local Motion member and VerMontreal Tour alumna Nancy McClellan works at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. To respond to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Nancy has gone to volunteer at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital (HAS) 40 miles NW of Port-au-Prince. Below is a personal note from Nancy. If you’d like to join other members in supporting the hospital, you can learn more at www.hashaiti.org.
We have all been struck by the devastating earthquake that has hit Haiti – a country that is already the poorest in the western hemisphere and one which will have great difficulty dealing with this tragedy. Please let me share with you a personal account of a wonderful institution that deserves your time and attention.
The Albert Schweitzer Hospital (HAS) is located 40 miles NW of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. HAS is an integrated, rural health system for some of the neediest people on this planet. It provides medical care and community health and development programs to the impoverished people of central Haiti. The permanent staff of 550 Haitians is co-ordinated with visiting medical professionals from North American and abroad. HAS has a strong Vermont connection and many area medical personnel have travelled there often. Luckily, HAS sustained little damage from the earthquake and has been able to quickly provide disaster relief to the victims, who are pouring in their doors.
I have been privileged to work as a nurse-midwife at HAS. The hospital is one of the best and most efficiently run in Haiti. Over half of the patients are children, being treated for malnutrition and trauma. I have seen medical conditions that I only read about in textbooks or have seen rarely in my 30 years of caring for mothers and babies-conditions such as neonatal tetanus and eclampsia (seizures in pregnant women). I have traveled 3 hours in a 4WD car over the worst roads you can imagine to a community outreach clinic to teach local women about safe birth practices and sterile techniques-and most importantly, when to bring a laboring mother to the hospital.
HAS is a strong advocate for the Haitian people and they, as is Haiti, are at a crisis point. Please visit their website at www.hashaiti.org and read the compelling updates on the refugees arriving there for aid. Thank you very much. Mesi anpil!
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