UFGH in The Huffington Post: Haitian hospitals awash with supplies, struggle to pay staff

Sadly, part of the reason why groups like Unified for Global Healing are so necessary in Haiti right now is because hospitals lack the funds to adequately pay for their own Haitian medical staff. There are some hospitals where the staff hasn't been paid at all, or has only been partially paid, since the earthquake. This article in The Huffington Post discusses how hospitals in Haiti, like Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti, are literally overflowing with donated supplies, but lack the funds to cover basic expenses like salaries. When we arrived at Hopital Adventiste on July 12, the six-month anniversary of the earthquake, the hallways were indeed lined with boxes of donated supplies that a whole team of university students from Loma Linda University were in the process of sorting through. And there were very few Haitian doctors and nurses working the floors so, accordingly, the hallways were essentially empty of patients. The scene was definitely in contrast to what some of us were expecting, having heard that hundreds of people were living in tents in the hospital's yard immediately after the earthquake, awaiting care. But as word got out that we were in town our patient census steadily grew. On the first day we saw 26 patients in the Emergency Room. By the last day, we saw 107 patients in the emergency room. That's in addition to the 32 - 40 in-patients we saw on a daily basis (these stats, thanks to our head of research, Dr. Khalid Elhussein).

Despite the hectic pace, "I told the team to make working together with the Haitian staff our daily mantra and I asked them to pose their questions to our Haitian colleagues before asking me or one of our nurses anything," said Dr. Thea James, one of our co-founders. We learned a lot this way, especially when dealing with conditions that we as American doctors aren't exposed to, like typhoid. In exchange were able to teach the Haitian staff a few things. For example, Dr. Richard Zaidner taught Dr. Erwine Dina Jeune how to use ultrasound for emergency care. We try to incorporate teaching into all of our trips so our impact will last long after we leave!

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