In early February, Dr. Jim Ingvoldstad, Dr. Barbara Robertson, Deb Griffin and Lee
Wilder spent three days at the Bill Rice Clinic. Thanks to a generous grant from the
Presbyterian Thank Offering, badly needed repairs have been made at the Bill Rice
installed. The clinic now has electricity all day long, which means that the
laboratory equipment can be used without interruption, a refrigerator can reliably
store vaccines and the ultrasound machine is always available.
In addition, the waiting room and labor and delivery rooms have been painted. That is the tangible.
staff. Dr. LaPointe, the medical director of the clinic, has set a tone of collaboration
and begins each day with a staff meeting and a brief devotional.
The maternal health program is firmly established under the capable leadership of
Soisilia Bertrand and Vilana Saintecherie with monthly prenatal clinics in 4
communities. Not one woman has lost a baby since June, thanks to this prenatal
the reach of the clinic and there are now plans to establish a satellite office in Gros
Mangles, which will be staffed by Soisilia Bertrand, formerly the community health
worker for that village. This will make prenatal care much more accessible on that
side of the island. Francky Charles, the new head nurse, is assuming responsibility
for the monthly training sessions for community health workers and is leading our
vaccination efforts. Now that there is a new motorcycle at the clinic, he is able to
travel to remote communities with the Medika Mamba program, de-worming
protocols and vaccines.
English! She is eager to work on preventative care and health education. It was
very touching to see her dedication to diabetic wound care and her compassionate
bedside manner. Miss Fleurette Belgarde has joined the clinic as the administrator
and spends most of her days in the pharmacy, collecting patient fees and tracking
After three days of working side by side at the clinic, it was time for the LaGonave
representatives from over 15 organizations participated, sharing information,
perspectives and insights. The agenda included presentations on education,
healthcare, sanitation, economic development and agriculture and the LaGonave
Haiti Partnership was well represented. Pere Vil led the education panel with
valuable insights on the ministry of education, national standards and school
management. Dantal Martin, the lay leader of St. Francis and the supervisor of our
adult literacy program, discussed our adult education initiative and stated that
literacy is a social justice issue in Haiti. The challenge for all educators on LaGonave
is secondary education. There are too few secondary schools to serve the island and
the costs to operate secondary schools are prohibitive. There is also a crying need
for vocational education.
The discussion about vocational education was closely tied to a presentation by two
local businessmen about the lack of economic opportunities on the island.
Historically, LaGonave produced enough food to export to the mainland but that
trend has reversed.
We were especially proud of the leadership our medical staff exhibited in the
healthcare discussions. Dr. LaPointe and Dr. Fiquita made valuable observations as
to ways different institutions could collaborate including a standard referral form
for the hospital, standardized formularies and standardized patient information
forms. Soisilia Bertrand made a presentation on our prenatal health program. The
Bill Rice staff had extensive discussions with the staff of the Wesleyan Hospital and
it is clear that these personal relationships will lead to stronger institutional
Submitted by Lee Wilder