Highlights Fall 2013
The MTI-Advantage Program organizes and hosts training teams for rehabilitation professionals. In November, two separate teams from Team Canada-Healing Hands provide training to our staff and area health care providers on the topics of stroke and spinal cord injury. Thanks Team Canada!
Recent physical rehabilitation volunteers to the MTI-Advantage Program helped the full-time staff conduct mobile clinics. The purpose of the clinics is to screen persons who may need more extensive follow-up in our clinic in Les Cayes and to provide care and training of family/caregivers on the spot when possible. Transportation is expensive and challenging for persons with disabilities, so as often as possible, we try to bring care closer to their homes. The photos below show a mobile clinic in the Camp Perrin area (about 1 hour from Les Cayes). The staff and volunteers screened participants for high blood pressure (a huge problem in Haiti) and then evaluated, examined and treated for neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and skin problems. Kids with cerebral palsy, adults with stroke, farmers with shoulder problems and persons in need of artificial limbs are among those seen in these mobile clinics. Thanks for the financial contributions to MTI-Haiti Advantage Program that allows us to “deepen and broaden” influence in the southern department of Haiti.
The volunteers to the MTI-Advantage Program keep the program rolling…. Pictured below is Diane Denham, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga and employee of a shoe store. She collects very lightly used and new athletic shoes and ships them to Haiti for our use in the artificial limb/brace shop and with other needy clients to the clinic. She helps with clothing as needed, too…. Part of the responsibilities of the MTI-Advantage Program Director, June Hanks, is to share the news of what God is doing through the program and invite others to participate. Below is a picture of June presenting at First Centenary United Methodist Church and to a Sunday school class of adults with special needs who donated money and made personal cards for people in Haiti… June is with long-term volunteer, Jim Rogers, an artificial limb and brace maker who has helped to construct all three of the shops for the Advantage Program. Thanks Jim!
The MTI-Advantage Program Amputee Soccer team played a game against the team in Port-au-Prince recently. The players have a great time and bring encouragement to others with disabilities through their energy and enthusiasm to continue on despite the challenges. I dare say I could last even a few minutes on the soccer field with or without crutches!
The MTI-Haiti Advantage Program is going gang-busters to finish out the 2013 calendar year. Volunteer teams of rehabilitation specialists (physical and occupational therapists, artificial limb & brace makers, doctors, nurses) come to train our staff. The Stroke & Diabetes Prevention and Management Program continues to impact lives through education regarding the importance of blood pressure and blood glucose control, the risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes, and risk factors for stroke. We continue with the ongoing therapy for kids like Chrismael who has cerebral palsy, young men like Maxene who requires long leg braces and crutches to walk and infants like Stephesen who has multiple issues, including cerebral palsy and clubfoot. The Advantage Program is arranging for Stephensen to be seen by an excellent Haitian Pediatric specialist in Port-au-Prince.
The staff of MTI-Advantage Program continues to engage in community activities with persons with disability. Our amputee soccer team played against the team from Port-au-Prince at the end of September. Although we did not win (we’ll get ’em next time), the team has lots of fun and demonstrates joy and hope that encourages others with disabling conditions.
(July 2013-September 2013)
It seems the MTI-Haiti Advantage Program is on growth hormones! In July, June Hanks (MTI-Advantage Program Director) and Consuelo Alzamora (Occupational Therapist and Rehabilitation Clinic & Outreach Manager) traveled to the Dominican Republic to investigate ways to engage more fully with the physical therapy program in Santiago. The university has many physical therapy students from Haiti. At the request of the faculty, we will assist in curriculum design to help prepare the program for World Confederation of Physical Therapy recognition.
Under the leadership of Consuelo Alzamora, our Rehabilitation Clinic and Outreach Program Manager, we have started our Stroke & Diabetes Prevention and Management Program. See pictures here on our “Blood Pressure in the Park” activity in which the staff conducted blood pressure screenings and provided education on hypertension, stroke and diabetes.
The women in the MTI Disabled People’s Organization “Vwa Nou” (Our Voices) participate in macrame training classes. They have a great time learning new designs and socializing, too.
Highlights FY13 Fourth Quarter
(April – June 2013)
The last quarter of the fiscal year was extremely productive in many ways. Two new staff members joined the team: Consuelo Alzamora, an occupational therapist from Chile and Samuel Romelus, a Haitian Rehabilitation Technician. Consuelo, Samuel and Senat are creating our Stroke Prevention and Management Program. Approximately 35% of the patients we see have had at least one stroke. Many are young…. 30-50 years old. Most know they have high blood pressure, but do not take medication regularly. So, we have started an “educational blast”, group therapy for persons with stroke, and individual therapy as needed. We are making relationships with local clinics/doctors so patients can get the medications they need to control their blood pressure. Below are pictures of a training program for stroke rehabilitation offered by a Canadian group and also a group therapy session.
HIGHLIGHTS FY13 Third Quarter
In the first 3 months of 2013 (the third quarter of our fiscal year, which ends June 30th, 2013) the Medical Teams International-Advantage Program provided assistance to more children and adults than ever before! News is spreading about our treatment programs for persons with stroke, children with cerebral palsy, kids with clubfoot, persons with muscle/joint problems and children/adults with amputation. Accomplishments since the beginning of January are listed below.
Group for Persons with Stroke: In January, we started a weekly group therapy club where persons with stroke come together to encourage one another, receive therapy, and discuss issues related to living in the community.
Group for Persons with Amputation: In February, we held our first organized support group meeting for persons with amputation. Most had received artificial limbs through the MTI-Advantage Program. During our discussions, one man stated “Before our meeting today, I felt like I was the only person facing the challenge of losing my leg. I did not want to leave my house to go into the yard, visit my neighbors, or go to church. Now, I have more courage and energy to participate in my community.” We plan to continue with monthly meetings.
Unusual cases: Some days it seems that we are just like any outpatient rehabilitation center anywhere in the world. On other days, we realize that we are the first point of contact with the healthcare system for individuals with uncommon and difficult to treat problems. In the photo below, June Hanks evaluates a 2 year old who, while in the womb, had the umbilical cord wrapped around her right leg, causing a constrictive band around her lower leg and blocking the circulation of fluid (lymph). Technically, the diagnosis is amniotic band syndrome. We were able to put the family in touch with a plastic surgeon in Port-au-Prince. Hopefully, the child will have the surgery necessary to correct this problem.
Good Samaritans are out there!: In late March, a passerby saw a woman and her daughter struggling to get a ride with a motorcycle taxi because the daughter had a disability. Long story short, the passerby knew of our clinic and brought 13 year old, Jolette, and her mother to our clinic. When Jolette was 5 years old, her mother was told that surgery was needed to correct her severe bowlegs (Blount’s Disease). Having no money, the mother never arranged for the surgery. Now at age 13, Jolette can hardly walk due to her leg deformities. But whew, is she bright! Until this past year, she was in school making very high grades. The MTI-Advantage Program arranged for her to be seen by an excellent pediatric orthopedist in Port-au-Prince and she is scheduled for surgery in April. The “Good Samaritan” certainly did a good deed! Thanks for helping us “extend the deed further” by getting the help needed for this beautiful young girl.
Clubfoot Correction: Under the leadership of Marvin, CPO, our clubfoot correction program continues to grow. Parents of children with this most common birth defect causing foot deformity come to know about our program through radio announcements, posters and word-of-mouth communication. Through our relationship with Cure Clubfoot Worldwide, we are able to provide services at no cost to the family.
Mobile Clinic Outreach: We continue to provide support to persons with disabilities in the greater Port-a-Piment area by conducting a mobile clinic 1-2 times a month. Patients come from the surrounding mountains on donkeys or by foot for evaluation and establishment of treatment plans they can continue in their homes. We provide encouragement to the area Disabled People Organization, named “Brilliant Light”.
Highlights FY13 second quarter (October-December, 2012)
Since moving into downtown Les Cayes this year, our visibility, accessibility and reputation has led to record numbers of patient visits. From July 1-December 13, we have seen 351 patients in 1378 treatment sessions!
Here is a list of some accomplishments:
Activities of MTI-Advantage Program October – December 2012
- Adaptive sports: organized and participated in amputee soccer game (MTI-AP team against PAP team)
- Worked with the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of Persons with Handicaps (BSEIPH)-Les Cayes to participate in an artisian exposition for people with disabilities
- Built 2 PET carts (hand propelled carts) to be used in exposition and for commerce in town
- Assisted 2 Disabled Person Organizations (DPOs) to organize for registration with Ministry of Social Affairs
- Sponsored 10 young people with disability to attend regular school/vocational school with their peers
- As of Dec 7, treated more than 351 patients in 1378 treatment sessions in the MTI-AP clinic and mobile clinics
- Made/repaired m57 prostheses and made 50 custom orthoses
- Conducted educational program on the preventable disorder of clubfoot to teachers/area professionals
- Provided 31 clubfoot corrections; 88% of patients completed the program (i.e. full correction)
- Conducted awareness presentation/workshop on accessibility issues for persons with disability to Les Cayes leaders, MINUSTAH construction representatives, and the Ministry of Public Health representatives
- Participated in working group by UN-DP providing input on Disaster Preparedness
- Created and revised database system to facilitate reporting on program outputs
Highlights FY13 first quarter (July-September, 2012)
In the first quarter of this fiscal year (i.e. July, August, September), the MTI-Advantage Program has experienced a record # patient visits to the clinic. Diagnoses have included clubfoot, pediatric orthopedic disorders, stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and limb loss. The recently received shipment of rehabilitation equipment has transformed the look, atmosphere and capacity of the clinic. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Haiti Rotary Club of Aquin and the Rotary Club of Bellevue, WA! Men ansanm fe chay pa lou (Many hands together make the load lighter).
As our patient data base grows, so has the need for closer patient data monitoring Marie has rapidly expanded her computer skills allowing closer tracking of patient data.
Thanks to a work team sponsored by First Centenary United Methodist Church (led by Jim Rogers, a long-time friend of the MTI-Advantage Program), we now have a nice two story storage shed for walkers, crutches, and other assistive devices.
Four of our participants are enjoying being part of a wheelchair pilot project with MIT as they work to develop an all-terrain wheelchair made of parts that can be repaired/replaced locally. We look forward to the return trip of Tish and Mario in November!
Wheelchairs, PET carts (hand propelled carts) and crutch users occupy the rocky roads near the local schools as the school years starts for our educational empowerment program. We have 8 young people attending a regular school with their peers.
Senat, our rehab nurse/technician is like a sponge for information. He is quickly expanding his skills and providing more supervised patient care in the clinic. He has a real knack for working with all age groups, but especially children. He is participating with our community based groups and is interfacing with Haitian organizations assisting persons with disability
Since moving into downtown Les Cayes, the increased accessibility and visibility of the MTI-Advantage Program continues to lead to more opportunities for service in our spot on the spectrum of public health. Our intent is to listen to and learn from community based organizations regarding needs and solutions to the challenges facing this vulnerable population of persons with disabling conditions.
We welcome our new staff member, Senat Chenet, an auxiliary nurse with experience in acute medical management and community service. He has been working with community groups and in the rehabilitation clinic.