The Changing Face of Death in Haiti
It seems as though out of the blue 4 cases of Diphtheria appeared in our clinic. As quickly as possible, the patients were transported to Port Au Prince hospital for therapy. One of the three children died, and we were on our way to trying to control a rising epidemic. The father of the children, fearing a Voodoo curse, left the hospital with the surviving child who was not yet fully treated. He went back to his village, packed up the rest of the family and left, possibly spreading the disease.
I felt so blessed being able to be part of a great clinic in this area which helps to identify diseases, and further the care of the people. If the clinic was not available the disease might have taken the lives of many people in the village, and blame put on their superstitious belief. These superstitions make Haiti vulnerable to very contagious and deadly diseases. Instead the chain of events put in motion a plan to protect many from a possible epidemic.
The next day our medical administration worked together with the local government health agency to plan how we can assist with a vaccination program to protect the community from this horribly painful death.
Our Director of Nursing and Public Health Nurse worked together to come up with a logistical plan for treating the many people who would come to our area for vaccinations.
The nurses, in a joint effort of good team work volunteered to go to the neighboring villages after the clinic closed, and teach the people about Diphtheria.
Families crowd the vaccination clinic as a feeling of panic over takes the villages when news of the impending epidemic is heard.
In the next few days in conjunction with the local health agency, some of the staff from the Jesus Healing Center traveled to neighboring villages to do mass vaccination protection of the people.
Beatrice our Community Health supervisor helps coordinate the efforts to bring 5-6 clinics to towns and villages in our area.
The children here are so brave, but they are also frightened of illness as their lives are so fragile. 1 out of 4 children die before the age of 5.