In the remote southern mountains of Haiti, people struggle against tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid fever and parasitic worms. The Haitian government provides no health care. For the citizens of Au Centre, medical care was a distant dream. The nearest hospital was 30 miles away over rough and dangerous roads, and even the nearest clinic was four miles away – and they turned away those who could not pay.
In 2006, we brought the first doctor ever to visit Au Centre. He found the village children extremely malnourished, suffering from disease, waterborne pathogens and parasites. We began bringing in doctors and medicines on a regular basis, but still it was not enough.
In 2009, we opened The Au Centre Health Clinic, the only such facility in the whole section of southwestern Haiti. Health care at the clinic is free to all. The clinic has a full-time nurse, weekly doctor visits, and a pharmacy. Medicines, antibiotics, vitamins, bandages and other medical supplies are now available for the first time.
Word of the clinic has spread to neighboring settlements, and in some cases, people walk a whole day to reach the clinic, sometimes carrying a loved one the entire way.
Future projects will address some of the root causes of malnutrition and disease. Our project to bring clean water to the village will reduce the risk of water-borne illnesses, and will allow villagers to grow more nutritious food.
The benefits of education are lost for children who are too sick to attend school. Their parents need good health as well, in order to support them. The stress of a family member who is ill affects the entire family. Medical care in the village gives the kids and their families a chance at a healthy life.