Global NGO Project HOPE says Haitians with disabilities in the capital, Port-au-Prince, are receiving a higher level of medical care and psychological support thanks to a USAID-funded program that has improved the lives of people disabled by the 2010 earthquake and other tragedies.
Together with Société Haitienne d'Aide aux Aveugles (SHAA), Federation Haitienne des Associations et Institutions des Personnes Handicapées D’Haiti (FHAIPH) and Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) from Richland, Washington, Project HOPE is completing a comprehensive program that provides a full range of quality services for disabled persons that extends from in-home supportive care and therapy through to advanced surgical interventions.
“We have planted the seeds of a solid project whereby the handicapped are starting to receive more services that are of better quality through a more coordinated network,” said Lucien Armand, M.D., MPH, Program Director for Project HOPE in Haiti.
The three-year, $3 million project, funded by USAID, has directly served 1,246 disabled persons, with another 1,344 persons indirectly benefiting from services via HOPE’s partner activities since 2012.
The health services provided through the program include corrective surgery, mentoring to Haitian physicians in training, capacity building for Haitian orthopedics, providing medical equipment and mobility devices, and mentoring and strengthening professional skills in physical and occupational therapy at rehabilitation centers to improve patient care.
The earthquake killed over 200,000 people and tens of thousands remain homeless today. Dr. Armand said the needs of the disabled are indeed being addressed through USAID-funded programs like HOPE’s. However more should be done.
“The long-term medical needs of the many disabled by the tragedy four years ago and other tragic events are as crucial as ever, and addressing the health needs is key to the future stability of many communities around the capital, Port-au-Prince, and beyond,” said Dr. Armand.
The program also focuses on community efforts to reduce the stigma and discrimination against the disabled, which remains a real challenge. “It can be difficult, in some cases, to persuade people with disabilities, particularly on the outskirts of the city center, to seek assistance and counseling,” said Dr. Armand.
HOPE‘s long-term strategy is to build health care capacity in Haiti, by strengthening hospitals that will be capable of corrective surgical interventions and to increase the number of facilities that will focus on rehabilitation services.
Project HOPE delivered over $80 million in medicines and supplies and mobilized over 100 medical volunteers to serve on the USNS Comfort – the Navy hospital ship treating the most severe trauma cases after the earthquake. After the disaster response phase, HOPE focused on Haiti’s recovery by helping crush victims overcome their injuries and improve their quality of life by establishing one of the country’s first free, comprehensive rehabilitation and prosthetic facility for amputee victims.
HOPE has sent medical volunteers to train and assist local health care professionals in areas affected by cholera since 2010. Repeated cholera outbreaks are an ongoing concern in Haiti, and HOPE continues to monitor the risk of cholera in the event a hurricane or tropical storms threatens Haiti.
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.
Geraldine Carroll (540) 257-3746 firstname.lastname@example.org
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