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Project HOPE opens first Rehabilitation Center for thousands of disabled year after disaster

Millwood, Virginia, May 23, 2011

Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, is launching its first rehabilitation center in Haiti on Thursday to care for disabled patients of all ages with long-term needs.  

Rehab Clinic Opens in Haiti

The new rehabilitation facility at Adventist Hospital in Diquini, near Port-au-Prince, is known as “Chanje Lavi,” which means Changing Lives in Creole.  The center is already seeing about thirty patients daily and residential facilities on site can allow several patients at a time to receive ongoing physiotherapy and prosthetic fittings, potentially accelerating their improvements. VIDEO

The center employs local and foreign rehab technicians, physio- and occupational therapists, as well as community and social workers to provide crucial psychological support to Haitians who lost limbs and livelihoods in the earthquake.  The center boasts a prosthetics department where patients can be fitted with prosthesis and orthotic equipment, in a ‘one-stop-shop’ for rehabilitation.

“The rehab center is caring for earthquake and accident victims and patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, or stroke and other ailments.  The rehab center is a model for self-sustainability, which is crucial to building a more stable health infrastructure in Haiti,” said Jason Friesen, Project HOPE’s program manager in Haiti. 

“Staff is able to act as a link between a ‘facility-based’ rehabilitation and the patient’s own home -- for patients who are unable to come to the center.   The rehab center is the preferred site for treatment, but community and social workers also perform outreach within the locality to raise awareness of rehabilitation (a relatively new concept in Haiti) and the free services that Chanje Lavi offers,” said Friesen.

Haiti’s Secretary of State for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, Dr. Michel Pean, and other Haitian dignitaries will attend the opening of the center on May 26, in support of the innovative program that offers free care to patients. Between 3,000 and 5,000 amputees are expected to benefit from Chanje Lavi.

Rehab Clinic Opens in Haiti

The rehab center will also provide physical and occupational therapy for the first time ever in the community.  HOPE and its partners, the Christian Blind Mission and Prosthetika, are seeking support to sustain these much-needed medical services in Haiti.

Project HOPE intends to hand over the daily operations of the rehab center to local Haitian staff at Adventist Hospital in the future and is working with local staff to develop a smooth transition to ensure excellent patient care and outreach.

Project HOPE partnered with the U.S. Navy in the months after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 to care for more than 1,000 Haitians aboard the hospital ship, USNS Comfort. In addition, HOPE provided volunteer doctors and nurses to support relief efforts at three separate hospitals throughout Haiti. Later, in response to a devastating cholera outbreak, HOPE sent additional medical volunteers and enlisted the service of an international team of cholera experts to train local health care professionals. Within the year following the earthquake, Project HOPE also distributed more than $60 million of medicines and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in Haiti and along the border of the Dominican Republic.

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health crises, with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in 35 countries across five continents.

Media Contact

Geraldine Carroll, (540) 257-3746 or gcarroll@projecthope.org

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