Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Haiti Medical Relief
The January 12 Haiti earthquake killed over 200,000 people and The United Nations reports nearly 1.3 million people are now homeless. The devastated capital of Port-au-Prince is home to 762,708 of them, living in squalid tent camps without proper sanitation. Officials have worried about "donor fatigue", especially with the Chile earthquake. But the situation in Haiti is so much worse than Chile because of the lack of a functioning government.
On Friday morning I will be leading a team of doctors and nurses who will fly to Port-au-Prince to work with Partners in Health (PIH) and provide medical care to the victims of the earthquake. We don't know exactly what to expect or what the working conditions will be like.
The need has moved beyond the initial trauma and surgery to general medical care and pediatric care for the millions of survivors. Sutter Health deployed an initial team to work with PIH right after the quake and now they are asking for more help. It is great to work for an organization that steps up to the plate and sees global health care as part of their mission.
So I won't be blogging on EverythingHealth for awhile.
I am taking my malaria prophylaxis because the rainy season is starting and mosquitos are everywhere. I know the conditions will be rugged with intermittent electricity and sleeping in tents. I hope the supplies and medications our team is taking will be enough. Nothing is worse than knowing there is a treatment that would cure, but not having it close at hand. We are trying to anticipate what is needed but there is only so much that we can carry. The airlines are charging $50-100 for an extra or overweight bag so the logistics of this type of travel are a challenge.
I will try to blog regularly at the Sutter Health site, SutterHelpsHaiti. It will depend upon my ability to send photos and text through my blackberry.
Stay tuned for the outcome of this exciting, scary and very worthwhile journey to help the victims of Haiti.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:18 PM