Cholera Experts Visit HOPE Volunteers
Today the Project HOPE and The Humanitarian Network team began putting together the dorm building that will house volunteers who come to Haiti to help with HOPE’s physical rehabilitation program. The building is going up next to a small tent “town.”
After several days on the road the ICDDR,B Project HOPE team flew out of Cap Haitien on the Northern coast of Haiti back to Port Au Prince only to turn right around and make the trip by car into the Artibonite Valley where cholera first appeared in Haiti. The first stop on their trip was to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), a long-standing partner of Project HOPE’s since the January earthquake.
Since the earthquake Project HOPE has supplied volunteer doctors, nurses and physical therapists to HAS to support the Haitian staff there. In the wake of the earthquake and now with the cholera epidemic, like many other hospitals in Haiti, HAS has seen their census rise requiring an augmentation of staff. The team was met by nurse Jill Caporiccio, a long-term HOPE volunteer now working at HAS from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mrs. LeGrand Mellon and other staff. The team spent the day touring the facilities at HAS and assessing their cholera ward. In contrast to some of the other sites visited by the team the cholera ward at HAS was well staffed, seemed to have a good supply of required cholera related items due to a recent resupply by Project HOPE, and seemed to have good systems in place to handle their cholera census. The ICDDR,B team was able to collect some cholera samples, which will be added to the cholera samples they procured at other sites and will be sent back to the national lab in Port Au Prince for culture and sensitivity.
While at HAS it was suggested by local staff that the team go a short distance down the road to the town of Verettes where there is another cholera treatment center (CTC) being run by International Medical Corps (IMC). There the team was able to collect more samples to add to their database of samples to go to the national lab. While at the IMC CTC the ICDDR,B team nurses were able to do some bedside hands-on training for the nurses on the ward imparting important information about the appropriate triage and treatment of the most fragile of cholera patients. The team has found this mode of training, the hands on at the bedside approach, is the most powerful of training tools. One they hope to help replicate at numerous levels in Haiti both at the institutional level and at the academic level having it added to nursing and medical curriculum.