Parent health agents bring medical care deep into the community
Health care is a grave concern all over Haiti, but especially in the countryside. Besides better known concerns like tuberculosis, malaria and the like, people commonly suffer from high blood pressure, asthma, and a variety of common health issues which become serious problems if they go untreated.
And, unfortunately, this is often what happens. In some cases, local people are unfamiliar with or distrusting of modern medicine, so they don’t seek it out. In others, they don’t have access. In others still, they are too old or feeble to get to the treatment they need.
To deal with these issues in the community in and around the Children’s Academy, two years ago we developed a key partnership with Haiti Clinic. In this partnership, Haiti Partners offer a safe, reliable space in which to provide health services and store equipment and medicines; and Haiti Clinic offers top-notch, free health services to the school community. (View pictures of the clinic in action here.) This partnership has been wonderful and has made quality health care accessible to thousands upon thousands of people in the area.
Recently, we took this partnership a step further. With Haiti Clinic’s leadership, a team of 10 local health agents has been created to bring health services well out into the community. Health agents promote the clinic’s services, visit neighbors’ homes, and become known in their areas as a person you can go to if you or someone you know needs medical attention. They have been trained in basic diagnostics – like checking a patient’s blood pressure – so once they learn about a case, they can visit the patient and gather information that can then be shared with the clinic doctor to assess appropriate next steps. In cases where a patient has difficulty returning regularly to the clinic, health agents can even deliver medications as needed.
Haiti Partners contributes to this effort by allowing the health agents – who are parents of kids at the school – to count their hours toward their school service hours requirement. (All Children’s Academy parents are required to work 4 service hours each week as part of their contribution toward school fees.)
Because of this new system, health services are now reaching more and more people in and around the community of Baocia, where the Children’s Academy is located. As ever, Haiti Partners is thrilled and grateful for our partnership with Haiti Clinic and look forward to seeing what other wonderful fruits it may bring in the future.