January 2017 trip to Haiti
It's hard to quantify or describe the impact of having an actual clinic. Prior to development, our teams worked in an open-air church. It was hot and dusty. The wooden benches were our waiting area and the patients rooms merely consisted of chairs clustered together. There was no privacy and concentrating was difficult. Now, with the construction of our brand new clinic, our level of care has expanded. Patients get the attention, care and privacy they deserve; providers can concentrate and focus. Our January trip marked the first time a team was able to utilize the new clinic, which included new equipment donated by a Rotary Global Grant & ProjectCURE.
Furthermore, this trip launched our Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. In an area where power is a luxury and internet is nonexistent, the ease and convenience of the EMR system, which lets doctors send orders to the pharmacy directly, is unparalleled. Gone are the days when the pharmacists had to decode doctors' handwritten orders. Now, we have a system that allows for better care, record keeping and tracking of outcomes.
The EMR system was developed by Global Health Coalition. It's founders are Dr. David Mehta, a cardiology fellow in Milwaukee, former Rush resident and Haiti trip volunteer, and Bobby Bacci, owner of Prominence Advisors. They, along with employee Selah Ben-Haim, joined our trip in order to ensure a fluid transition.
With our new clinic and system in operation, the primary care and dental team saw over 500 patients and held a focus group with female patients. The focus group was aimed at determining the potential barriers of having male physicians and interpreters assist with their care. In addition, we met with the local community healthcare providers and Jerusalem Clinic Board. However, our biggest gain may have been the addition of Fiquita Saint-Paul, our new full-time physician, whom we've worked with extensively in the past. We feel she is committed to improving Jerusalem's overall health.
Outside of the clinic, we were pleased to see the Water Committee expanding its capacity. The demand for clean, fresh water has been so high that they installed two additional tanks on top of the water kiosk. What's more, the Committee, along with the Clinic Board, is looking into the use of solar power in order to conserve energy and increase supply.
Overall, this trip was remarkable in that we were able to see tangible gains in our efforts to improve the healthcare system in Jerusalem. It's a big win for the community. Stay tuned for more trip updates, interview and travel stories from the trips to come.
Dr. Babs Waldman