Archive for the ‘Haiti’ Category

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Germany about to go out. As watched on Hospital Cashier

A shout goes up from the Hospital Cashiers.  Here in Haiti, I have heard shouting in Cashiers before. Angry patients, or cries of despair over the death of a loved one.  But while grappling deeply with a knotty problem, my concentration was broken, and the shouting went on and on.  It was not consternation, but excitement.  South Korea were about to knock out Germany in The World Cup, and the queues in Cashiers were watching it on the Cashiers TV. Shrieking and shouting.

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women-haiti-phoneRing, ring, ring – and the thread of your discussion goes ping!  We’re discussing a complex accounting issue with my Haitian colleagues, in three languages (English, French, Creole).  Then … a shrill jingle… the phone is picked up.  And poof! The thread of thought is broken.  On another day I was in a personal 1-to-1 conversation with a Haitian friend … a shrill jingle… the phone is picked up.  And poof! A sheepish smile “sorry, I won’t be a moment.”

If I’m honest – after many visits to Haiti, I still get annoyed.  For a people who value personal relations so highly, I wondered why is an incoming call given such priority over face to face conversation.

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2131adf2-945a-453b-aa21-94eb453b7052.jpgIn light of the recent Haiti aid scandal and on-going questions over international aid, the Medical Director of Hospital HCBH, Dr Paul Toussaint, has written the below reflection.  It’s a longer blog than normal, but a very insightful reflection from the perspective of one of Haiti’s leading Paediatricians:

Charities work in many sectors: Water, sanitation, health education, human rights etc. But why so many organisations?  What are the results?  We are asking these questions perplexed.

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Embassy Visit

HHA team with UK Ambassador and Hospital leadership. Us in our DFID T-shirts. team work. no abuse. May 201

Orgies, sexual favours – all part of Oxfam’s 2011 Haiti crisis. And in South Sudan also.  We were in Haiti in this period too, and also help in South Sudan.  After the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake – Hope Health Action and The Baptist Hospital swiftly repurposed buildings to take in spinal injuries, and later cholera victims.  Working intensely with other agencies and of course, the Baptist Hospital, many lives were saved, though many many more were beyond our reach.  It was a desperate time.  And Oxfam, with its hugely larger funds, backed with UK-Aid was able to reach more. 

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Haitian graveyard

I was so pleased with the hospital budget planning, and outcome.  A sudden patient death was a shock. Cause of death – our budget?

This more complicated than you might think. The patient had all their care to date at Hospital Convention Baptiste d’Haiti (HCBH) in Cap-Haïtien in north Haiti. That day the patient suddenly arrived with a haemorrhage.  The doctor prepared for surgery.  Unfortunately when they were to announce start, there was an emergency elsewhere. Another patient was now in surgery and was being anesthetized.  The hospital had one anaesthetist.  So it called upon a sessional anaesthetist as backup.  But they were not available.  HCBH called the government hospital in town, but they could not help.  Then called the Roman Catholic hospital that was not too distant.  They could help.  The patient was rushed off in the ambulance, but it was too late.  They died.

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Irma hisses, then travels on its way

Posted: 10 September 2017 in Haiti
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Haitians move boat to safety

“How’s Haiti, after Hurricane Irma?” I’m being asked.  The hurricane moved a bit north of Haiti and so missed the really bad stuff.  Lots of wind and rain, but I have heard of no deaths, and no destruction in the Hospital area.    However, there has been severe flooding and loss of crops.  With all this, there is the serious risk of another cholera outbreak.  See ITV early evening News Sunday 10th.  Nevertheless, all this could have been far far worse – we are truly thankful to God.

Answer to prayer?  I think not.  If the hurricane is not going to hammer Haiti, it will blast somewhere else in its travels.  It is a fallen and incomplete world, and while there is mainly order, chaotic events like hurricanes happen.  Our standing before God and prayer is what counts.

So what use are our prayers?

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Pencil.jpgAn ordinary pencil, at my feet.  Newish and lonely.  Not what I expected to see as I walked to the vehicle parked in the Haitian Hospital grounds.  Picked it up.  Had a decent pencil already in my laptop back.  So I casually offered it to a Haitian colleague walking with me.

This friend, familiar with Christian faith, speaks excellent English.  But seemed lost for words. (more…)