Each family now has a tent on GHESKIO's campus
After the earthquake, GHESKIO quickly implemented high-impact health interventions for approximately 7,000 homeless people camped on its campus in downtown Port-au-Prince. We provided emergency surgery and rehabilitation care to 3,000 trauma victims, scaled-up tuberculosis screening and treatment for 2,000 patients, and continued HIV services for 22,000 patients. To make these services available, GHESKIO partnered with the Haitian Government and private institutions.
On the GHESKIO campus, we have provided basic necessities including shelter, security, nutrition, water, sanitation, education, jobs, and primary medical care. Every family now has a tent and clean water. Each person has been vaccinated, and we screen everyone in the camp daily for signs of communicable disease, and provide primary health care services. GHESKIO receives and distributes United Nations food tickets. GHESKIO screens all children for malnutrition and provides supplementary food for pregnant women and children under 5 years of age. A few members of the camp were hired to dig drainage ditches, while others patrol the camp to provide security. GHESKIO provides education and counseling to prevent and treat sexual violence. People in the camp have been hired to clean and pick up garbage. GHESKIO, with a partner organization called PRODEV, will open an educational center for children 6 – 12 years of age.
A measure of success of the GHESKIO “refugee camp” will be the speed with which we return people back into their own, ideally healthier, communities and close the camp. A majority of the people in the camp come from the neighborhood across the street from GHESKIO called the “Village of God”- population of approximately 100,000 people. We will help people rebuild their homes and move back into the Village of God. As we rebuild, we will improve the health of the entire neighborhood by improving nutrition, clean water, sanitation, and education.
As a consequence of the earthquake, the tuberculosis (TB) burden in Port-au-Prince has increased an estimated two-fold. TB is a major infectious disease killer and is passed from person to person through the air in crowded living conditions. Treatment requires 6 months of multi-drug therapy. Treatment interruptions and poor adherence with medications result in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. During the earthquake, the three major tuberculosis sanitoriums in Port-au-Prince were destroyed along with a number of out-patient treatment centers. We believe that at least 3,000 tuberculosis patients in Port-au-Prince stopped their treatment and dispersed to crowded tent cities without their medications.
GHESKIO is emergently working with the National TB Program and other partners to strengthen TB screening and treatment in Port-au-Prince. The GHESKIO laboratory is the only one in the country capable of performing tuberculosis diagnostics: microscope examination, culture, and drug resistance testing. We provide free TB diagnosis and treatment to all patients who come to GHESKIO. We have opened a TB “field hospital” to provide in-patient services. We are also assisting other health care centers in Port-au-Prince with TB diagnosis and treatment including the State University Hospital, the United States Navy Hospital Ship Comfort, and other field hospitals. GHESKIO receives clinical samples from these hospitals and performs the laboratory analysis. Patients who test positive for tuberculosis are transferred to the GHESKIO TB hospital.
To prevent the spread of TB in refugee camps, we are screening people in the GHESKIO refugee camp for tuberculosis and will extend this screening to other camps. Because so many TB patients had treatment interruptions, we will test all TB patients for drug resistant tuberculosis. Patients with drug resistant TB will receive appropriate therapy.
Immediately after the earthquake, GHESKIO hosted a United States Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT). Security was provided by the US military and GHESKIO provided support services including electricity, water, radiology and laboratory services. GHESKIO staff triaged and provided post-op care. Since the departure of the DMAT on February 24th, GHESKIO, in partnership with Caris Foundation, has provided several hundred trauma patients with post-operative care and rehabilitation services.
March 22, 2010