Healthcare Inaccessible for too many Haitians

15th March

Many people here without limbs

Many people here are without limbs

In this part of NW Haiti I often come across people who have lost limbs. For many it happened during the earthquake of 2010, if people were in areas that were badly impacted at that time. Jean Rabel felt little of the tremors but many fled north in the aftermath of the earthquake as they may have had families here and their homes were totally destroyed.

Of those who chose to move north many returned again once things settled down, but some have remained here and now call this region home.

The Religious of Jesus and Mary funded a prosthesis clinic in Port-au-Prince to help the large numbers of people who needed new limbs and supports following the earthquake but in this remote area people who lose limbs due to accidents or other events have no such facility and the cost of getting to Port-au-Prince makes the prospect impossible and they simply live out their lives coping as best they can with the hand they have been dealt.

Prosthesis Workshop in Port-au-Prince

Prosthesis Workshop in Port-au-Prince

 

I see many people limping or struggling with deformed feet, legs, arms or hands who have not had the chance to seek medical intervention. Having broken my ankle very badly two years ago, I am very aware of how incapacitated I would now be had I not been fortunate enough to receive excellent medical care and support both in Bosnia-Hertzegovina where the accident happened and also in Tallaght hospital in Dublin when I returned from my holiday.

Photo of Marc from the Centre in Port-au-Prince helping a client walk again

Photo of Marc from the Centre in Port-au-Prince helping a client walk again

I was so lucky to be able to pay for the treatment I received in Bosnia-Hertzegovina; the free assistance I received from the Malteser volunteers and the treatment I received in the public health system in Ireland.

People here in Jean Rabel have no recourse to such vital services. If they need medical treatment they must pay for it; if they don’t have the money, they simply must do without. It’s so sad to see so many people limping along when what we in the West consider a ‘simple operation’ or ‘intervention’ would fix their problem within hours.

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Sharing is Caring

15 March 2017

This is an area of Haiti that could badly do with volunteers just to help out with all sorts of daily life. The needs are so great and the opportunities for people so dismal that you can’t come here and not feel an urge to do something, anything that will help in some way.

Volunteers needed here

Volunteers needed here

There are 10 million people living in Haiti, the vast majority of them under 25 and they simply need opportunities the rest of the world take for granted. They need robust homes, decent buildings for schools and daily food to eat. In order to have these simple necessities of life they need to be able to pay for them as there is no such thing as social welfare or social security. If you haven’t the money to buy food, you simply starve and for many children the only food they have to eat is what they get in school.

Thank God in the area of Jean Rabel most people have a small garden where they grow crops for their family or to trade at the market. This is great when there’s a good harvest, but when there isn’t, when crops fail and rains and hurricanes come, devastation is widespread, nobody has money and many people go hungry.

Volunteers appreciated in Jean Rabel

Volunteers appreciated in Jean Rabel

As you walk about the town you are stopped and asked for money, help or food on a daily basis as one after the other tells you they are hungry and asks for a dollar – men, women and children. And how can you help everyone? You are probably already ‘helping’ in whatever capacity you came here to help. I wonder do they realise that or where do they think we get money and more money and more money from.

Perhaps they believe what the Bible says, “ask and you will receive.” Do they believe that if they just keep on asking eventually they will receive what they ask for? But really, they shouldn’t have to ask and ask and ask. The basics of life should be available to them, the same as they are to the rest of us and I think it’s time for the rest of the world to wake up to that fact and realise we are all one family after all and what is available to us should be available to all and shared fairly among us.

Will we ever see that day?

 

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