At our July meeting a proposal was put forth that we hire a doctor to assume the role of Medical Director of the Bill Rice Clinic. This was a big, but necessary, step as we continue to focus on a comprehensive plan for medical care on the island.
We had the good fortune to find out that our long-time friend Dr. Jean Wilnique was willing to take the position. Dr. Wilnique was at the Bill Rice Clinic during his “social year” that each medical school graduate is required to serve as a pay back for their education. He was also born and raised on La Gonave and resides in Anse-a-Galet with his family, and attends church at St. Francois Episcopal. So, he has a deep understanding of the needs of the people and how to best address those needs. He also serves as the assistant medical liaison to La Gonave for the Ministry of Health. He has long been involved in interviewing and choosing which social year docs come to the clinic to serve.
Dr. Wilnique began on September 1, 2013 and we recently met with him. He is a seasoned medical doctor and a man of energy and vision. He was just returning from Port au Prince where he had attended a seminar on the eradication of malaria, a new initiative of the Ministry of Health. He had also arranged for Miss Dupont, our head clinic nurse, to attend a seminar on treating TB.
The day we were at the clinic we attended meetings with the Community Health Workers and the Matwones. During both meetings Dr. Wilnique commanded the respect of the workers and took time to explain the scope of his expectations. There was much interest and enthusiasm in the room at both meetings.
At our private meeting he showed us reporting forms (already filled out for September) and spoke of his plans for addressing the malarial disease vector, treating and recording the illnesses they see in the clinic and his plans for implementing the new maternal and child health program.
With a huge sigh of relief we were able to leave the island knowing the clinic was in good hands and in a position to fulfill the vision many of us have had for it for a long time.
Welcome, Dr. Wilnique….and please make it a priority to get by the Bill Rice Clinic on your next visit and welcome him yourself!