New Partner Helps Fight Tuberculosis in Haiti

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NPH Spain wins an award from the pharmaceutical company Lilly, through its corporate social responsibility program. The funds will go to fight tuberculosis (TB) at the NPH Haiti St. Damien Pediatric Hospital.

With this contribution, Lilly remains committed to the MDR – TB Partnership initiative the company has promoted globally since 2003 to combat tuberculosis. This disease kills more than 150,000 people worldwide each year affecting mainly the populations of developing countries.

The TB program at St. Damien’s treats both Pulmonary and Extra-Pulmonary TB and is for children between 0-14 years of age. Some cases are hospitalized, but most are outpatient receiving a six-month regimen with close supervision for compliance by two field agents. In 2014, St. Damien provided 1,656 TB consultations and treated 298 pediatric cases.

St. Damien Pediatric Hospital received the priceless gift of laptops and training from specialists from the Bendix Company

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Twenty-five new laptops were donated to the NPH Haiti St. Damien Pediatric Hospital by the Bendix Company, which is part of the Global Care Foundation. According to a Bendix manager, their employees were strongly motivated to help after seeing the laptop donation project on the website.

In addition to donating the laptops, Bendix also generously delegated specialists to come to Haiti for an onsite computer training at St. Damien Hospital that lasted from September 22nd to September 24th. Fifty-seven St. Damien employees participated in this training. Basic and intermediate classes were provided along with a specific class designated for the administration staff. Participants had the opportunity to significantly expand their knowledge in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

From now on, St. Damien employees will be able to accomplish their work in a more efficient way. For instance, this generous donation will help us in our surgery center to quickly schedule surgeries and make changes to schedules in case of emergencies. The social services department will use their laptops to attend to patients and families by helping them to deal with difficult situations with sick children. Department coordinators will be able to better manage their extensive caseload and reporting. In the Emergency Room and in the Intensive Care Unit, the laptops will help to electronically send laboratory analyses and x-rays directly to these rooms.

According to Mario Flores, the Program Manager of Bendix, “this was a great training for the staff which in turn will help support the vital services that this hospital is offering its patients. We are glad to be a part of the process and to help.” Bendix has committed to assist with continued professional development and training.

St. Damien staff that participated received a completion certificate on the last day of training. On behalf of the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, we want to express a huge thank you to the Bendix Company for their generous support. The laptops and training will help our hospital to continue providing the highest quality of care treatment for disadvantaged and ill children in Haiti.

Cholera – Still Present in Haiti


NPH Haiti began helping the victims of cholera before it hit Port-au-Prince in 2010, by driving to Port-de-Paix to help Mother Theresa’s Sisters manage their many cases and later to St. Marc when it was overrun with patients. NPH set up its first center, St. Philomena Rehydration Center, in the compound of the NPH Kay Germaine rehabilitation center in Tabarre. St. Philomena would grow to become the current St. Luke Foundation hospital for adults.

In 2013, the pediatric section of the cholera/rehydration center was moved to St. Damien to better manage the child cases. The center is called Rehydration Center to avoid the stigma of cholera. Although an oral efficient vaccine against cholera was tested and introduced in Haiti, the coverage remains low so the population still remains vulnerable. Other diarrheal illnesses are treated at the center as well.

St. Damien Pediatric Hospital and its community health programs receive people from all over the country, so cholera is always present. The number of patients increase with the amount of rainfall. The vast majority of people still do not have access to clean drinking water. They must purchase gallons of treated water for drinking and washing dishes. They buy untreated water for showers and laundry which sometimes is the only water they have if they can afford to purchase water at all.

There were multiple cholera centers in Haiti at the beginning of the epidemic but now there are approximately only 15 that NPH Haiti can identify, with the only pediatric one at St. Damien.

The center is also used as one of the sentinel sites to study the impact of the rotavirus vaccine, newly introduced in Haiti in 2014 for children by the Ministry of Health and CDC epidemiological teams. Rotavirus is a virus causing most cases of diarrhea in children under one year of age.

January to June 2015, St. Damien has treated over 1,881 rehydration pediatric cases with 323 being identified as cholera.

Meet Olson – receiving life saving treatment at St. Damien

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Olson*, is four-old boy from Jacmel, a town located in two hours away from Port-au-Prince. His mother’s name is Rolande and his father is Maudelaire and they have three other children. Despite the challenges, he has had to face at such a young age, Oson is still a curious, helpful and sweet little boy to everyone he meets. His best friend is cousin his Priscille, whom he loves to play with at home.

In August 2014, Olson had hernia surgery at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital. In March 2015, his mom discovered he was suffering from cancer. The disease started with stomachaches and his mom discovered that there was a hard lump on his belly. His mother started to give him some common medicine for gas, but he did not improve, so they went to see a private doctor in their neighborhood in Jacmel. The doctor requested a scan and then referred them to St. Damien Pediatric Hospital.

When Olson arrived at St. Damien, he was quickly examined by the doctors and nurses and was admitted to the hospital at “Sal mango” Oncology ward. He has blood tests, urine, X-Ray and two more scans and biopsy procedure. The result showed that Karl had Rhabdomyosarcoma abdominal. Because they family lives too far away from the hospital and because of the financial circumstances, a parent is obligated to sleep at the hospital with the child. This of course can be a strain on the family if the other parent has to work.

Olson is currently started his treatment of chemotherapy at St. Damien in the cancer ward. At first he had some complication with the chemotherapy, such as not being able to talk, swelling, fever and vomiting. His health is getting better since he’s been taking the medicine. After chemotherapy he will have to travel to the Dominican Republic in the coming month to continue the radiation treatment, however beforehand he will have to get another scan to see if the chemotherapy reduced the tumor.

According to Maulaire, “I want to thank the initiative of this hospital because when my private doctor referred my child to Port-au-Prince at St. Damien Hospital, I was already start thinking if there really is somewhere that they treat cancer in Haiti and I felt disparate as I don’t have money to travel to a foreign country. I really believe that without this hospital, without St. Damien, my child would already have died.”

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Fighting for Life

Mothers – loving, tired, stressed, weary, worried, desperate.
The struggles of Haiti etched eternally on their faces.
Loving eyes struggle to keep watch, watch the IV, watch the oxygen, watch the temperature.
Days and nights of watching and the eyes fight to stay open.
Loving arms balancing restless sick children.
Road weary feet swollen and hot from days in the hospital.
Days sitting on blue chairs.
Nights sitting on blue chairs.
With occasional respite found on a sheet on the hard tiles.
Tiny babies – 500 lbs, 1 kilo, less than 500 lbs.
Big kids swollen.
A boy shoved a bead up his nose.
A boy shoved a pea in his ear.
Big babies.
Small babies.
Fighting for each breath, oxygen, IV, nurses desperately trying to find tiny veins.
All veins seem to stay at home.
Valiant nurses keep trying.
Dehydrated bodies.
Busy, busy nurses.
Fighting with death daily.
Fighting for life.
And still the patients come.
From all over the country.
Looking for life.
No more room.
Make room.
How to refuse.
How to say yes.
Young mothers – kids themselves.
Young fathers – hurtled into the realities of parenthood.
Pneumonia the biggest killer of kids under 5 in Haiti.
Racing hearts, gurgling lungs.
Scared parents.
Small kid – huge tummy
Tiny premie – went to God.
Beautiful Chloe, trying to breathe.
Eyes fixed on her praying crying aunt as if to say, “why me? I am just a tiny baby. Why is so hard for me to breathe”.
Can she know she has a heart problem and she has not long left.
Her poor Mam.
Doctors trying to find space.
Meeting after meeting, trying to find ways to find money to keep this hospital open.
We can’t afford to keep it open.
We can’t afford to close it.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Life and death – always dancing together.
Dancing around the beds.
Fighting around the beds.
It should be so easy for life to win.
Suffering is there with them.
Yes indeed suffering and more suffering.
Mothers and nurses and doctors and fathers joined together, united together.
An eternal circle, comings and goings.
Different faces.
The same suffering.
The same fight for life.
Every year I get an insight into the realities of life here as Olsen takes me inside our hospital emergency room.
St. Damien Pediatric Hospital.
The ONLY pediatric hospital in Haiti.
Don’t read this and feel sad.
Read this and help us in our fight for life.


Contributed by Gena Heraty, NPH Haiti Special Needs Director
Photo credit: Giles Ashford

Cancer Care at St. Damien


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St. Damien performs operations on women suffering from cervical cancer, such as Nanotte Pierre who went there for treatment after discovering she had cancer. Surgery is prohibitively expensive in Haiti, chemotherapy drugs are limited, and there isn’t a radiation center in the country. One typical treatment option is group prayer. REBECCA ARNOLD/NOS PETITS FRERES ET SOEURS HAITI

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