16 Jun The Good Shepherd Foundation Opens the Doors of its New Clinic
After eight years of holding clinics in an open sided shed and eighteen months of hard work, The Good Shepherd Foundation finally inaugurated its new permanent home on April 25, 2019, with its first ever indoor clinic. Thanks to the kind help of ORACHEL, a diaspora Haitian organization with roots in the Chevreau du Lombarde community who gave us a no charge, long term lease to the ground floor of their newly built community center, we had the bare bones of a new home. Following a year and a half of plastering, painting; building stairs, ramps, and handrails; door hanging; window screen making; and furniture construction we opened our doors to 222 patients on our first day and a half of operation.
The new clinic offers a bright, clean, and airy waiting room, three examining rooms with proper examining tables where patient privacy is ensured, something we lacked in the outdoor clinic. Our pharmacy area includes new shelving, a service window, and a waiting room where patients can sit comfortably indoors while waiting for prescriptions.
We still need to electrify the building so that we can have lights and fans, a vaccine refrigerator and power for medical instruments. The staff toilet is rudimentary at best and water must be hauled from the well to flush it. Security upgrades are also needed, but all these upgrades will be considered as finances allow and even with these limitations, we have entered a new paradigm of patient service.
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Now that we have a new, indoor, facility to work in, the TGSF team is on the cusp of facing decisions about how often regular clinics can be scheduled. Previous constraints of paying a monthly rental for the space we were using, and the need to relocate all our medicines, supplies, and furniture between clinics have been removed, and our physicians have long expressed the opinion that to provide appropriate care to the people we serve, at least two clinics each month would be a vast improvement. Increasing the number of clinic days each month may be even more critical now that political conditions in Haiti have caused many NGOs who rely on foreign medical staff to pull their personnel out of the country. However, TGSF’s Haitian staff remain dedicated to our patients and continue to hold clinics each month, despite the current environment.
“On May 19, “Down’s syndrome, partial paralysis, chronic blindness and deafness, ear infections and bacterial conjunctivitis. The remaining 188 patients were diagnosed with colds or fever, gastroesophageal ulcers, erosive gastritis, acute and chronic diarrhea, vertigo and head pains, stomach pain, bacterial dermatitis and dermatosis, migraine headache, low iron anemia and vitamin deficiencies. The health of these people continues to deteriorate every day despite our efforts in behalf of their health because the time interval between our visits allows the resurgence of their illnesses. They need sustained and continuous medical assistance and without this, we work in vain.”
“We saw and treated 203 patients with different signs and symptoms that we diagnosed. Fifteen of the 203 between the ages of 5 and 35 years of age presented with convulsions, epilepsy, Down’s syndrome, partial paralysis, chronic blindness and deafness, ear infections and bacterial conjunctivitis. The remaining 188 patients were diagnosed with colds or fever, gastroesophageal ulcers, erosive gastritis, acute and chronic diarrhea, vertigo and head pains, stomach pain, bacterial dermatitis and dermatosis, migraine headache, low iron anemia and vitamin deficiencies. The health of these people continues to deteriorate every day despite our efforts toward their health because the time interval between our visits allows the resurgence of their illnesses. They need sustained and continuous medical assistance.”
Ultimately, our ability to continue holding clinics more frequently is up to the commitment and generosity of donors. Our new clinic wouldn’t have happened without your support and it is only your willingness to help that will allow us to put the final finishing touches on our new facility and begin to use it to its maximum potential to help the people of Haiti. Please reach out to us with your thoughts and questions.
Contact Linda McGurn, for more information.
Article Contributed by Bruce Scharfstein