One of the many great things about the people at Welch Allyn is… they get it. The medical equipment manufacturer has a great relationship with Heart to Heart International that continues to grow, and you’ll find the company’s support across many of our programs and projects.
Recently, a five-member team of Welch Allyn employees traveled to the Caribbean on a Volunteer Service Trip (VST) to assist our Haiti Operations. For a week, the team conducted training on donated equipment, provided direct patient care and even got sweaty and covered in paint putting finishing touches on a Heart to Heart clinic.
What follows is from a guest blog from Sue Mangicaro, RN, Director of Clinical Affairs at Welch Allyn, as she describes some of the team’s experiences as volunteers.
Sue Mangicaro: Today we worked at a clinic in Bel Air, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, which is close to the former palace. I was struck by the progress and poverty in the region.
First the progress: When I first came to Haiti in January 2010, one month after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and then a year later in February 2011, the area looked as though it was a war zone. So many homes and government buildings, including the palace, were destroyed and there was rubble everywhere. People were living in tents as far as the eye could see-not much had changed from January 2010 to February 2011.
During this 2013 trip, I immediately noticed a significant change on the drive to the clinic. Where the collapsed palace once stood, for a full year without any change, was now a clean open space. The tents that surrounded the palace for more than a year were now all gone. While there are still some tents scattered in the area, there is a significantly less than in 2011.
There were also drastic improvements made to the clinic in Bel Air. We once saw patients in makeshift exam areas, sometimes out in the open. We now have real exam rooms. And, where we used to dispense meds from a crude set up, they now have a small pharmacy. Finally, we previously had to send patients requiring blood work away, but now there is a small lab at the clinic to run tests.
Welch Allyn is donating equipment to the clinics here in Haiti. To make sure these clinics will get the most out of the devices, we have been training the Haitian triage nurse, the nurse manager and the Haitian family physician to use the Spot Vital Signs® Lxi that we left behind. The triage nurse was thrilled to have a device that could capture all the vital parameters she was currently capturing manually (with the exception of thermometry using a Braun ear thermometer) in such a short time.
After visiting the the clinic in the morning, we went to a nearby hospital that also has a teaching program for resident physicians. We met up with several ophthalmology residents and the chief resident, along with Dr. Frantz Codio, Heart to Heart’s Medical Logistics Director who coordinated the visit.
John Haberstock (in red in photo) trained the Haitian medical staff to use the iExaminer and they were thrilled to use the donated device. I spoke to them about the value of acquiring vital signs, regardless of specialty, while Winsome Graham provided training on the donated Spot Lxi. Each resident physician wanted to use the products and were also very grateful for the donation to their program.
All in all, it was another great day in Haiti. The team commented on how quickly the week was going and how hard it is to believe it is our last day in clinic tomorrow. We head up to the mountains in Fondwa, about a three hour drive. It will by my second trip to this clinic and I’m looking forward to the day!
Look for Part Two soon as the team works construction and heads into the mountains, along with more photos of the volunteer team’s trip…