Saturday, January 30, 2010


By Tyler Marshall

Port-au-Prince, Haiti -- On a small hill in the hard-hit Petionville area of the Haitian capital, International Medical Corps operates a mobile clinic to treat the 20,000 residents of a provisional tent and plastic-shelter community that has sprouted up in the days since the Jan 12th earthquake.

Residents are mainly those who lost their homes in the earthquake.

On Saturday, International Medical Corps volunteer physician, Marie-Alixe and volunteer critical care nurse, Simone, worked with Haitian physician, Charles and a team of Haitian nurses to treat about one hundred residents of the new community. Both Marie-Alixe and Simone are Haitian American.

Working with local counterparts, they conducted basic wound care to keep injuries sustained during the giant quake on the mend and other, more routine treatments. By the time the clinic opened, a large crowd of about 60 or 70 people, primarily women and children, had formed at the entryway, waiting their turn.

The mother of a 1-month-old, for example, expressed concern about her infant’s cough while an older woman complained of shoulder pain in what may have resulted from sleeping on the bare pavement of the streets.

As with other International Medical Corps facilities, two trends visibly underscored the gradual reduction of acute cases and the rise of more routine complaints:

- a higher percentage of those seeking treatment for non-urgent ailments.
- an increasing number of Haitian health professionals showing up in ever greater numbers.

The goal, said both International Medical Corps volunteers, was to work closely with local Haitian health care professionals so that they could eventually transition to take on greater responsibilities.


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