Monday was as much of a jammed packed, busy day as we expected. Breakfast was quick and I gulped down my coffee before rushing out the door to catch my ride to Mt. Fleury. Here we set up a mobile clinic in a church, creatively utilizing sheets and tarps to provide shade and privacy partitions. After a flurry of activity and a whole lotta teamwork to get the clinic set up, we opened for business around 9am.
Converting the church to a mobile clinic took a lot of creativity and teamwork!
The pharmacy team setting up for the day
Not a bad "office" view!
The general process was that each individual would be numbered and fill out general intake information. Those who we're waiting to be seen we're staged in the courtyard where they were able to watch informational videos on topics such as malnutrition, hypertension, cholera, etc. After filling out their general identification information, the therapy students were assisting in taking their height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate.
After a video on malnutrition, I was able to host a Q&A session with the crowd. The majority did not understand the concept of malnutrition, so I took time to explain the nutritional causes and clinical implications.
Molly, who was helping with registration, was a hit with the kids!
Once the general information was collected, each individuals moved on to the nurse for a more thorough physical and health history overview. Amparo, a home-health nurse from Minnesota, and I worked together here to identify the most important health complaint or issue for each individual. Many people knew something was wrong stating "I just don't feel well" but had no idea why, so our interviews were very important in identifying underlying health concerns. Many of my nutritional questions overlapped with the health history questions. so this was a great place for us to work together to identify any underlying nutritional issues and screen for malnutrition.
Reassuring this older lady that the doctor would do his best to take care of her.
After seeing us, the patients moved on to be seen by the doctor. As they waited, the PT students and Jordan moved in to provide therapy services as identified by the health overview. After each individual saw the doctor, the pharmacy team worked to fill prescriptions as recommended and provide education on how to use them. The majority of medications were VERY basic, like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Prilosec, etc.
Kendall providing PT to an infant.
Jen screening a middle aged man with significant left arm weakness.
Jackie, the pharmacy technician, was educating this young man on the importance of brushing his teeth!
Our doctor for the week is Dr. Calix, a Haitian native who received his education in Cuba. He was very personable and I enjoyed chatting with him about malnutrition, potential interventions and what I would be doing to identify high risk individuals. CCH reported that though they take many medical volunteers, they always utilize Haitian doctors to make the final decisions regarding each individual. This is an important aspect in both building community and empowering the people of Haiti rather than outside individuals.
The mobile clinic team, including a few locals who decided to jump in for fun! Dr. Calix is front and center in green.
Tuesday will be more of a mixed day for the team. I wi be returning to the mobile clinic along with our pharmacy and nursing team from MN. The PT team will be heading to Pasapa (a home for children with disabilities), Sisters of Charity (orphanage and home for adults with mental and physical disabilities) and the local hospital in Jacmel.
My goal for tomorrow is to spend more time on nutrition education while each patient is waiting to see the doctor. We will be short staffed without the PT team though, so flexibility and multitasking will be essential to see everyone effectively.
There us so much more I want to say regarding what I witnessed being out on the field. The level of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition is very evident and our ability to provide a long term solution at this time is limited. I had the opportunity to interview a local for about 30 minutes which was a wonderfully enlightening conversation, and he wished for me to make clear that though they don't have much, the food here is good (I can attest to that!), the people have good hearts (that too!) and the country as beautiful as can be (absolutely!)
More on that later... Breakfast now followed by another busy day!