Check out our Earthquake Anniversary Trailer. Full video coming soon.
Presents, cake and games! What fun for the oncology patients, many of whom came back to visit and celebrate.
Did you know that St. Damien is the only pediatric hospital in Haiti that has an oncology program? There is no pediatric oncology anywhere else in the country.
Since 2004, the oncology department at St. Damien has grown from one bed to 13 beds. The program has advanced from treating 3 types of solid tumors; nefroblastoma (kidney), retinoblastoma (eye) and hepatoblastoma (liver) to nearly all types of cancer pathologies except cerebral. The department also treats certain benign hematology pathologies.
- The chikunguya epidemic, transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes bites, in Haiti did not last long. Very rare cases were seen for the last quarter. Many adults are left with some residual ailments, mostly joint pain.
- Rehydration Unit: We are experiencing a new cholera outbreak again since August 2014. We are up to the 100 cases per month after it decreased to 0 cases or just 3 per month. Many rehydration places closed down explaining the importance for us to treat children coming from Cité Soleil and the nearby town of Croix des Bouquets.
- Oncology: FHACI: Fondation Haitienne Anti Cancer infantile is the name of the new foundation created to support the work of the oncology department of Saint Damien and pediatric cancer in the country in general. The group is made up of very dedicated volunteers with our St. Damien physician Dr. Pascale Gassant, head of the oncology, as its Secretary. FHACI will have a pre launch event on December 9, 2014 to gather more members for the cause.
- HIV/AIDS department reorganized its work to adapt to the loss of a 1/3 of their budget, starting October 1, 2014. PEPFAR, the US government program funding HIV/AIDS in Haiti has cut a third of its support to the country. The post natal clinic included in the HIV program moved to Manitane, the Saint Luc women health clinic. Unfortunately some of our staff members now work part time, a few lost their jobs and we had to stop our training for outside staff. It was a big challenge for Dr. Jenny Edouard, who became the coordinator for this program recently, and had to work hard with the staff for this painful adjustment. Luckily antiretroviral drugs were not impacted with the measures.
- Forty children in the HIV program attended a summer camp organized by the US worldwide orphan organization (WWO) in Kenscoff last August. This is the third camp offered by WWO to children living with HIV/AIDS in Haiti. The children had a wonderful experience while learning to live better with HIV/AIDS and improve their compliance to their treatment.
- SCIPH, Saint Damien Collaborative to improve pediatrics in Haiti, organized its third annual global health conference in Virginia last September, under the leadership of Dr James Schmidt from Kings Daughters hospital. The goal is to encourage pediatricians in the US to engage in global health activities while taking the opportunity to showcase Saint Damien’s work. The collaboration of NPH Italy office, Bambinu Gesu hospital in Rome and the neonatology department at Saint Damien was featured.
- Training for cardiac care: At the end of September, a multidisciplinary team left Saint Damien to go to Akron Children’s Ohio for a six week training in cardiac intensive care. Saint Damien will receive, on March 15, 2015, the visit of a cardiac surgical mission from Gift of Life International, a Rotary program.
Contributed by Dr. Jacqueline Gautier, Executive Director
NPH Haiti St. Damien Pediatric Hospital
To learn how to diagnose and then care for those patients after surgery, a 7-person team from St. Damien has been visiting Akron Children’s during the past 6 weeks.
They’ve been spending quite a bit of time studying Akron Children’s pediatric intensive care unit.
In addition to participating in daily rounds in the PICU, the team has been doing medical simulations and practicing procedures, and even learning Lean Six Sigma principles and doing their own quality improvement project.
Perhaps the most valuable training was following 2 boys from Haiti – a 10 year old and a 2 year old – as they underwent heart surgeries. They observed pre-surgical diagnostic tests and physical exams, watched Drs. Phil Smith and Michael Spector perform the surgeries, and then stayed with the boys through their recovery.
Dr. Beatrice Fontalis has taken note of the differences between St. Damien and Akron Children’s, including many things most likely taken for granted here, such as ventilation equipment in every PICU room and CT scans.
Nurses play more active role in U.S.
After observing rounds in the PICU one morning, Dr. Fontalis noted the more active role that nurses take in the process.
“Here, nurses present the medical history, the vital signs and the labs,” she said. “When we do rounds, nurses participate but do not speak.”
She noted that St. Damien treats children with many more infectious diseases, such as malaria, pneumonia, meningitis and tuberculosis.
She looks forward to being able to offer the children of Haiti the same surgeries that are routinely available to all children in the United States.
“There are far, far too many kids in Haiti to fix,” said Dr. Kempf. “But this will be a good start. St. Damien’s should be ready to handle the more minor congenital heart surgeries, but the children with the more complex defects and in need of multi-stage surgeries will still need to travel to the United States.”
One good outcome of the earthquake was the mobilization of healthcare providers and humanitarians to help Haiti.
Dr. Kempf has worked to not only send delegations of Akron Children’s doctors and nurses to St. Damien over the past 4 years, but he also helps coordinate efforts with 6 other children’s hospitals across the United States.
Dr. John Clark, a pediatric cardiologist who has taken several trips to Haiti, said it can be emotionally difficult to be limited in what he can offer parents when he is at St. Damien.
“The need is overwhelming,” he said.
Local, regional and national chapters of Rotary International and Gift of Life gave a grant to cover the cost of bringing the Haitian clinicians to Akron Children’s, as well as paying $5,000 for each boy’s surgery – just a fraction of the actual cost.
Story first published on inside.akronchildrens.org
Dr. Lisa Martorano (second from left) a resident at Akron Children’s Hospital, describes the procedure for the removal of a central line for surgery on an eleven-year-old Haitian boy to Haitian medical team members Dr. Beatrice Fontalis (left) and nurses Charlemagne Ganaelle and Marie Lourdie Chery the day after his surgery to repair a heart defect in Oct. 2014 in Akron. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)
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