This is a story of partnerships. Haitians in Terre Blanche recognized a serious health problem in their community: tuberculosis. They received a grant from Medical Teams International, assistance from the Haitian Ministry of Health, and ongoing help from Haiti Foundation of Hope and its donors. These partnerships resulted in a valuable program located in this rural area, which means people can get care in their own community for this major health problem.
Several years ago a young mother and her three-year-old daughter came to the Clinic of Hope in Terre Blanche with the same complaints of weakness, fever and weight loss. The mother was infected with AIDS and tuberculosis (TB). Her three-year-old daughter did not have AIDS but had an advanced case of TB with a pneumothorax (collapse of one of her lungs).
Because of cases like these, the community health volunteers in Terre Blanche saw the need to seek out patients in the community who might be infected with both AIDS and TB. Studies show that 50 percent of patients with AIDS are also infected with TB.
In 2013, the community health volunteers identified TB as one of their top three health priorities. In that same year they received a three-year grant from Medical Teams International to assist the volunteers and the Clinic of Hope in the teaching and training for this project.
Patients diagnosed with TB were quickly referred to treatment centers in other communities since Terre Blanche did not have a TB treatment center. However, this required patients to travel long distances to get the necessary treatment.
In 2016, three patients with a history of TB were interviewed about their experience with the disease. One man described a prolonged cough and weakness and spending a great deal of money on a witch doctor’s remedies – without improvement. A community health volunteer convinced him to come to the Clinic of Hope where he was provided transportation to a treatment center.
All three struggled to afford transportation costs to get tested and treated and would have found it easier to complete treatment if it was available in Terre Blanche. They also described feeling isolated from family and neighbors.
Due to the excellent work and reputation of the Clinic of Hope, in 2016, the Haitian Ministry of Health approached the clinic and offered to place a TB program in the clinic along with the existing AIDS clinic. The ministry felt it was imperative to start immediately and provided both professional personnel and medication. However, the ministry noted that the clinic did not have the full facility requirement for TB services and asked that an appropriate lab and consultation building be built to isolate the TB patients.
In May 2018, after architectural drawings for a lab and a consultation building were made, the board of Haiti Foundation of Hope committed to build when the money was raised. The project cost was $80,000 and the board began to pray about how to raise the needed funds. In July, while still in the praying and planning stage, two anonymous donors provided over $73,000 for this project! Within the next several months additional donors made commitments to provide the remainder of the funds by the end of the year. God provided as we prayed!
Ground breaking for the new TB treatment center was on September 1, 2018. A volunteer medical team will be in Haiti this November and we expect a building dedication to take place. What a celebration!
We are grateful to all of our partners who enable the Clinic of Hope to provide a safe and well-built facility for the diagnosis and treatment of TB in the community. We give all praise to God who provides so well for His work here on earth and especially the area of Terre Blanche. Bon Dye bon! (God is good!)
How to Help
The TB building is funded but there is opportunity for you to be involved. The community health volunteers and clinic staff are vital to this program. They provide education, identification and support to those in their community who suffer from TB.
Patients describe feeling isolated while they are undergoing treatment but the relationships of the community health volunteers and clinic staff offer them support, hope and encouragement to complete their treatment. The volunteers also continue to educate and bring awareness to the rest of the community so there is less fear surrounding TB.
Community health volunteers are volunteers but there are costs for ongoing training, home visits and patient transportation. The clinic staff are paid positions funded by Haiti Foundation of Hope.
Would you consider monthly support or a one-time gift for these important workers?