This morning, I’m hopping on a flight from Boston to Miami and continuing on to Port-au-Prince (PAP) for the second time this year. I last traveled to PAP in January as a “fact finding” mission, to see if St Luke’s Hospital could recruit and support rotating surgical teams at its facility. This week will be the first test, as I’ll be joining physicians from Pennsylvania and the Mayo Clinic.
I’m eager to get to St Luke’s and begin working. In addition to seeing patients and operating, critical work involving cataloging supplies is necessary in order to gain a better sense of what supplies are most in demand at St Luke’s. Getting supplies is difficult at St Luke’s, in PAP, and in Haiti in general. Despite the funding and donations received immediately after the January 2010 earthquake, much of the funding remains out of the hands of Haitians, and there have been other disasters and tragedies. People have moved on and forgotten.
I plan to update while I’m in Haiti as well as after my trip, but in the meantime, I want to encourage you all to do three things.
- Visit the METI Project at metiproject.org. The METI Project is the organization that I have partnered with and will help coordinate future surgical trips. A METI team was in Haiti in early May; reading their blog posts have made me a little nervous about how conditions may have changed since January. If you are a healthcare professional and are interested in participating on a future trip, you can sign up on the website as well.
- Visit the St Luke’s Foundation at stlukehaiti.org. The St Luke’s Foundation runs St Luke’s Hospital in addition to many other projects in the Tabarre neighborhood in PAP, which you can learn more about on their website. If you are able to, you can donate directly to the St Luke’s Foundation to support their incredible work in Haiti.
- For those who work in health care, consider donating supplies and medications. Supplies that are commonly needed include blood glucose test strips, gloves, surgical masks/caps/gowns, spinal needles, and suture material. You can mail the supplies directly, but I recommend sending the supplies with someone who is traveling to St Luke’s. If you are interested, I can help coordinate sending supplies.