Friday, August 27, 2010

Haiti Hemophilia Sante - Progress

The past 2 days in Santo Domingo have been very productive. Wednesday evening leaders of the Dominican Republic hemophilia foundation gathered at the home I am staying at to tell me about the foundation. I heard of its birth and progress over the past 15 years. It was founded by the wife of my host family, Senora Garcia. Her son, Damaso Jr. has hemophilia and the family has dedicated themselves to helping improve the lives of their fellow countrymen who also have hemophilia. A truly inspiring and lovely family and group of people.

Yesterday we spent the day at a pediatric hospital. They have a dedicated hemophilia program complete with a stand alone clinic. In visiting with Dr. Rosa Nieves, also a member of the foundation, she generously offered to allow us to bring Haitian that with suspected hemophilia to her clinic free of charge, so they can be tested. We will also bring along their Haitian doctors so they may observe and eventually replicate the process in Haiti.

We also were able to locate a Haitian pediatrician in Port Au Prince who is currently following a few hemophilia patients. They have never actually been tested though due to lack of testing equipment in Haiti. Our current plan is to bring these patients, along with two others we are now aware of, back to Santo Domingo on 19 September so that they may attend the clinic on Monday the 20th.

We are going to be developing and training community health nurses over the next 4 weeks who can then continue family education, monitor patients for bleeds, and deliver medication as needed. We are also going to establish clinic sites in Haiti that the patients will visit on a monthly or every other month basis to be checked by the doctors. Our Haitian physicians will accompany the patients to the clinic in September for further training in hemophilia care.

A lot to do in a little time, but I am very excited about the rapid progress of this program. I will be seeking one of the families of the Haitian hemophilia patients that are able and willing to assume a directors role. They will then partner with the doctors to ensure the program's continuance. At that time I will move into more of an advisory and supportive role.

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