Q2 St. Damien Update

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  • Since last April, we have been facing the Chikungunya epidemic, transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, in Haiti and at St. Damien: up to 114 cases seen during April and May. We envisioned to open a separate room for the children needing hospitalization for  better management, but could not do it for lack of funding. The most severe cases are seen in the infant population.
  • Dr. Elouse Pierre, Mme Adeline Goldman and Dr. Marie Lina Excellent of the HIV clinic, participated in a conference by IHI Institute of Health Improvement conference in Paris, France in April, presenting two quality projects realized in the HIV/AIDS department.
  • Dr. Jacqueline Gautier, Executive Director of St. Damien, participated in the Pediatric Academic Society annual conference, in April in Vancouver, Canada. The topic was how to create global pediatric cooperation projects. Dr. Patricia McQuilkin from University of Massachusetts a member of SCIPH (see below) initiated this workshop that received good reviews from participants.
  • In May, despite all our financial constraints, we made an effort to raise the salary of approximately 100 staff members (a quarter of our personnel). Our support staff members deserved a decent albeit still modest salary. The hospital had not offered a raise for the past four years. We opted for this solution, because we were not able to offer a raise to everyone.
  • The network of six US pediatric academic programs supporting St. Damien, Saint Damien collaborative to Improve Pediatric in Haiti (SCIPH), completed their year of global pediatrics training for 3rd year US pediatric residents in May. Activities of SCIPH will include a six week training in Akron, Ohio, for a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, administrator, pharmacist, and maintenance technician, to improve intensive care at St. Damien. This activity is supported by a section of Rotary International, committed to bringing pediatric cardiac surgery to third world countries. SCIPH will also offer opportunities for the Haitian pediatric residents of St. Damien/Bernard Mevs to have training rotations in the US hospitals during their 3rd year of residency in 2015.
  • In June, Dr. Luterse Dupont, director of the Maternity service, was able to attend a conference in Obstetrics and Perinatology in Florence, Italy. He then stayed to work with Professor Enrico Ferrazzi, OBGYN physician, who helped create the maternity service at St. Damien.
  • Kettia Merveille, microbiologist from St. Damien completed last week a six week training at Rhode Island laboratory in Providence. She is back to work with Mme Elcie Bien Aime, responsible of the microbiology lab to upgrade this crucial service at St. Damien. This is an activity supported by Brown University, member of SCIPH.
  • One physician and one nurse from the neonatology department benefited of one month training last June at Hospital Bambinu Gesu, Italy.
  • Dr. Flaminia from Bambinu Gesu, Rome, Italy, spent 10 days in Haiti in June working with the neonatology staff, offering training in neonatal resuscitation for pediatricians, midwives, nurses and obstetricians.
  • Thanks to Saint Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, our oncology department was able to install tools for hand hygiene: soap dispensers, paper towels etc., as an effort to prevent infection in this unit. St. Damien improved greatly its performance in oncology in this area although much remains to be done. Also starting in May, three staff members of St. Damien are attending an online course in infection control. St. Damien is hoping to decrease gradually its rate of nosocomial infections. The course will go until next September at which time the participants may go to Mexico City for 10 days training at a pediatric hospital, championing in infection control.
  • On June 17th, St. Damien organized the first meeting to create a foundation to fight pediatric cancer in Haiti. The main objective of this foundation is to support the effort of our oncology service and to educate the population about child cancer.
  • Dr. Marie Lina Excellent, chief of HIV/AIDS at St. Damien, resigned to attend a masters program in public health at UNC North Carolina, USA. Marie Lina completed almost two years of excellent service helping St. Damien uphold its mission toward the families. She was replaced by Dr. Jenny Edouard Pierre Lys, who starts her role today, July 7th, 2014.
  • Two staff members, one from the emergency room, one from the department of archives, participated in a week training about electronic medical record use. Since October 2013, St. Damien is using a free national electronic medical record, for the moment, just for ambulatory patients. Despite some problems linked with poor internet function at times, and not enough computers at the hospital, the new record system facilitates our work.

Contributed by Dr. Jacqueline Gautier, Executive Director – St. Damien Pediatric Hospital

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