HEALING ART MISSIONS

Volunteers Supporting the People of Haiti
CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF HELPING HAITIANS HELP THEMSELVES
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CLEAN WATER PROJECTS

Following the outbreak of cholera in Haiti, ten months after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, HAM responded by opening a 24/7 cholera clinic. As of 2012, Haiti has the largest outbreak of cholera in the world and we have continued to expand our cholera clinic to 72 beds today. But the real solution remains in providing access to clean drinking water to the Dumay community we serve. Below are articles relating to the need for clean water and the programs HAM has undertaken to provide access to clean water.
WATER SECURITY IN DUMAY
 
58% of the population in pre-earthquake Haiti lacked access to clean water. Since the earthquake that figure has worsened, though no one knows by how much. With the outbreak of cholera, the need for clean water is greater than ever, and the community of Dumay, which HAM’s Center de Sante serves, is no exception. During HAM’s April mission, a localized outbreak erupted in the Dumay community and HAM’s Cholera Clinic was overwhelmed with cholera victims to the point the clinic had to be expanded to over 70 beds and the staff was tripled to accommodate the case load. Cholera is a highly contagious waterborne disease and this latest outbreak in Dumay is thought to have originated at one of the 13 primary water sources for the community. Access to clean water within the community must become a priority if the health of the Dumay community is to be effectively improved and cholera sufficiently reduced.
 
 
Cholera patients at HAM's Cholera Treatment Center

Clean water is currently at the top of HAM’s agenda, as efforts made during the most recent mission to Haiti demonstrate. A few months ago, the nearby water well that supplied HAM’s Centre de Sante and Cholera Clinic with water was cut off from our access. Water to support the Center de Sante and Cholera Clinic must now be obtained from a well close to a mile away and transported in five-gallon containers. To resolve this issue, during our April mission we contracted with a Mennonite group to have a new well drilled within the HAM compound which has been completed. In August a team of volunteers traveled to Dumay to install a new solar powered well pump so that both clinics will have sufficient water supplies. This water will still need to be treated to make certain it is clean enough for drinking. 

Just as important for the community at large is HAM’s effort to restart a clean water program in Dumay that involves low cost, point-of-use systems comprised of two five-gallon buckets, rope and charcoal filters with chlorine added. When the program ended in 2009 in Dumay, there were approximately 3,000 units in households. Today, there are only 857 functional units. HAM has begun a partnership with Gift of Water, who manufactures the systems, to repair the broken units. Read more about this and HAM's other efforts in the article on this page, far right column titled, "Access to Clean Water."

In the past, HAM has also worked with the community of Demier, a small village in the mountains south of Port-au-Prince, to provide clean water. We also started up the Gift of Water program in Demier.

A primary building block for the health of any community is access to clean water. HAM’s efforts to help provide a healthy community in Dumay must involve such access. It is only through the continuing support of HAM’s friends that we will be successful in our efforts and goals. To contribute to HAM, please go to our Support Page.

CHOLERA CRISIS GRIPS DUMAY
 
HAM's cholera clinic overflowed with patients in mid-April
 
Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic, currently the largest cholera outbreak in the world, painfully continues and Dumay became the hotspot of cholera in the country in April. After almost six months of  about seven cholera patients per day, HAM’s Cholera Treatment Center in Dumay was overrun with over 90 patients at one point. Our cholera clinic was expanded to 22 beds in early 2011 and treated approximately 2000 patients last year with the average patient stay at the clinic lasting three days. We anticipated an increase in patient load in April, given the first rainy season began in March, but we were unprepared for a crisis of this proportion, which took place over the weekend of April 14-15.
 
Fortunately, Dr. Tracee and a HAM team were in Haiti at the time of the outbreak to provide additional support for the Haitian medical staff, but with these large numbers we were quickly running out of resources. Calls for assistance were immediately made to the MSPP (Ministry of Health) and several of our partners in the UN’s Port-au-Prince Health Cluster, and by Monday afternoon, April 16th, the cavalry began to arrive. After spending the past several years working to cultivate relationships with the government and the large NGO’s with resources unavailable to such a small organization as HAM, it was inspiring to see our efforts pay off. The MSPP sent ten nurses and ALIMA (Alliance for International Medical Action) brought in a new tent and supplies to house and treat 50 patients, increasing our patient load to over 70. New controls and tighter protocols were put in place to keep the outbreak from spreading internally, and ALIMA, OXFAM and DINEPA (Haiti’s water and sanitation department) began the hunt for the source of the outbreak. We now believe the source to be a spring located a little over a mile from Centre de Sante. HAM and the other groups also increased our clean water education outreach into the community at the 13 water sources in Dumay and at schools and churches. Fortunately, through the combined efforts of HAM and our partners, by the end of that week cholera numbers at HAM’s Cholera Treatment Center had reduced to a more manageable load. As of early May the cholera clinic is treating an average of 25 to 35 patients per day.
 
HAM's new cholera tent courtesy of UNICEF

According to the New York Times, as of March, 2012, "...cholera has killed more than 7,050 Haitians and sickened more than 531,000, or 5 percent of the population." Cholera is a waterborne highly contagious disease that is easily treated with rehydration and antibiotics. However, without immediate treatment, the cholera can quickly dehydrate the body causing the circulatory system to collapse and death within hours. Deborah Sontag, in her recent article in the New York Times, "In Haiti, Global Failures on a Cholera Epidemic", gives a thorough history and analysis of the cholera situation in Haiti. Ms. Sontag writes of numerous limitations and missteps made by foreign humanitarian groups. Despite the failures she documents, HAM's efforts have been timely, committed and effective.

HAM's cholera clinic, provides oral and IV treatment therapy and antibiotics to anyone suffering with cholera at no cost and has been open since November of 2010. Employees include doctors, nurses, and support staff responsible for keeping the facilities clean and disinfected, a crucial factor in curbing the spread of this highly contagious disease. HAM's direct costs of operating the clinic exceed $2,300 US each month. Because we have developed important partnerships with some of the major international NGO's working in Haiti, HAM received donations of approximately $450,000 worth of medicines and medical supplies during 2011 to support this vital program. In addition to the MSPP and ALIMA, partners include UNICEF, PLAN International, Direct Relief International, América Solidaria (Chile), Bundesrepublic Deutschland (Germany), AMI (Portugal), and Promess (France).

To help support HAM’s ongoing efforts to treat cholera and provide primary health care in Dumay, please visit our Support Page and contribute.

 
ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER
 
HAM is aggressively working to provide access to clean water for the Dumay community of 20,000. Prior to August of 2012, our Centre de Santé primary care and cholera clinics did not have direct access to any water, having to bring water to the clinics in barrels  and 5 gallon containers from the nearby irrigation ditch and wells or a spring a mile away.
 
First addressing the access to water issue, in April of 1012, HAM contracted with Mennonite group called Blue Ridge, we drilled a water well on our property, just 30 feet from the clinic. The well was drilled over 250 feet deep through sandstone, and in August a team of HAM volunteers, lead by HAM board member  Keith Hare, flew to Haiti to install a pump to be powered by HAM' solar system, designed and installed by Keith. You can see photos and read blogs from the team during their time time in Haiti, HERE.
 
The first week of the July/August mission we restarted a partnership with the group Gift of Water http://www.giftofwater.org/, to provide simple in-home clean water filtration systems to the community. Gift of Water (GoW) manufactures point-of-use filtration systems that involves low cost, in-home systems comprised of two five-gallon buckets, rope and charcoal filters with chlorine added. But the GoW program ended in 2009 leaving leaving almost 1/3 of the 3000  systems in Dumay broken and unusable. As of July we have hired three water technicians who have been going through the community and repairing and re-educating those with broken GoW systems. A small fee, a small fraction of the actual cost, will be charged for the replacement parts to help impart ownership and responsibility, though the labor is paid for by HAM.
 
During the October mission, HAM medical director, Dr. Tracee Laing,  HAM's Haitian medical director, Dr. Jean Fritz Jacques, and Director of Operations, Paul Hammond will meet with a team of volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church of Richmond, Virginia, our newest partner in providing health services to the community of Dumay, Haiti. This parish has committed to funding and installing a large-batch water treatment system on the grounds of Centre de Santé Communautaire de Dumay as part of the Living Waters for the World project. This meeting with the First Presbyterian Church of Richmond will involve a final assessment of the technical details, the signing of a covenant, and meeting HAM's medical and clean water program staff. Once the final agreement has been completed, HAM will complete the designs and begin construction of a new building on the clinic property to house the treatment facility. At the end of January, First Presbyterian Church of Richmond will bring a team of people down to install the system and train our staff in the operation and maintenance of the system, as well as provide comprehensive clean-water education for HAM's staff. 
 
In September HAM received word from the First Community Church, Columbus, Ohio that we were to receive a $15,000 grant to construct the building required to house the new water filtration system. This new building will be approximately 240 square feet in size, built of cement cinder-blocks according to post-earthquake standards, the building will house the filtration system, 5 gallon bottle cleaning and storage, as well as provide sale and refilling services to community members at about 38 cents for 5 gallons. What the clinic can not use will be available for sale to the population and an accessible price. 
 
All money collected from the community for GoW system replacement and maintenance parts, and all money from the sales of the Living Waters bottled water sales, will be reinvested in the community clean water projects. The primary goal for these programs is to provide access to clean water resources for the entire community, but there is value added through moving these programs towards financial sustainability.
 
To help support HAM’s ongoing efforts to provide clean water access for the population of  Dumay, please visit our Support Page and contribute.