Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Better Path For Haiti's Recovery

Ruth Messinger is part of's Changemakers network, comprised of leading voices for social change.

It appears that Haiti's "15 minutes of fame" are up. With few exceptions, the journalists who flooded the zone following the earthquake are nowhere to be seen. And the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee's harsh criticism of the rebuilding effort six months after the earthquake is a sign that patience is wearing thin. Meanwhile, the lives of Haitians on the ground are still appalling — over a million in tent cities and squatter villages, rain flooding their streets, rape on the rise, too many basic services not restored.

In its recent report, the Senate Committee specifically pointed to the Haitian government's failure to address immediate needs, such as clearing rubble and moving hundreds of thousands of people to durable shelters in time for hurricane season. But the report also recognized the need for a more robust vision for how this island nation will thrive 20 years from now, and it has identified 10 keys for a successful long-term rebuilding effort. These included creating a plan of action, building Haitian government leadership, coordinating international aid and integrating the voices and interests of Haitian people - Haitian civil society - into the rebuilding process. It's this final recommendation that has not received nearly enough attention, from anybody.

Read the full article here.

Haiti, Six Months After the Earthquake

July 12 marked the six-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed as many as 300,000 people and left much of the country in ruins. Up to 1.8 million people are living in squalid tent cities, with inadequate sanitation, if any, no electricity and little security, or any respite from the intense heat and the worsening rains. Rape, hunger and despair are constant threats to the people stranded in the camps. Six months ago, the world seemed united with commitments to help Haiti recover. Now, half a year later, the rubble remains in place, and misery blankets the camps, layered with heat, drenched by rain. Read the full article.

You can also listen to the Podcast.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thank You KCI!

KCI Wound V.A.C.s next a patient's bed as their wounds are treated
A young man winces from his painful wound while Dr. Gabriel checks the Wound V.A.C. machine
Here in the United States, we take many things for granted. Most of us have immediate access to our most basic needs and beyond at all times. When ill, we have the advantage of consulting physicians who initiate a plan of care, follow up on this care and see us through, until hopefully we are well again. Supplies needed for surgeries and follow-up care are readily available at hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide in large amounts.
When we arrived at Hospital Adventiste in Haiti it became blatantly obvious that people are continuing to suffer from neglected injuries brought on by the horrific earthquake four months prior. We saw many malnourished children with non-healing wounds who were more than likely nutritionally compromised prior to the earthquake. The combination of neglect, lack of readily available supplies and minimal access to food and water for our patients can be discouraging. As healthcare providers traveling internationally to devastated areas, we can only hope that medical supply companies will stand by our side and assist in providing aid to the impoverished world through generous donations of supplies.
With the help of KCI Wound V.A.C. therapy, many of our grateful patients have been given a chance to rebuild their lives in spite of the physical obstacles surrounding them. With NWPT (Negative Wound Pressure Therapy) available at the hospital we are seeing wounds heal and avoiding amputations. Length of inpatient stays are decreasing due to the acceleration of the healing process with the assistance of the Wound V.A.C.. Children who were left orphaned by the earthquake are being given hope through healing. Through hard work they are gaining back the mobility they would have otherwise been deprived of, were it not for the incredible technology of KCI. In anticipation of our arrival, 10 additional V.A.C. systems were sent to the hospital in Haiti and ready to be placed on patiently waiting earthquake victims.
Thank you to Anthony Tate, Lydia Galarza and the reps at KCI for providing the patients and volunteers with continued support through donation. In order to rebuild a country you must begin with its people. As we help heal patients, we help heal a nation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Haiti: The Aid Dilemma

In the aftermath of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti, post-disaster relief is creating a new kind of problem for businesses there. The massive influx of food aid has altered the price of rice, throwing the delicate balance in Haiti's food supply chain out of whack and threatening to collapse the country's rice market. It's the kind of problem that can turn a one-time disaster into a crisis that lasts years.

But international aid organizations like the U.N.'s World Food Programme are trying out a new method of delivering relief that they hope will avoid that problem.

"It's a simple idea," says reporter Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money. "If people are hungry, don't give them rice. Give them money to buy rice, or vouchers that amount to the same thing. That way, instead of destroying [local] business, you strengthen it."

But as Davidson and producer Travis Fox discover in their story The Aid Dilemma -- part of a unique and ongoing partnership between NPR and FRONTLINE -- a simple idea can quickly turn complicated.

>>> Read the Full Article