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HAITI PROFILE - MEDICAL RELIEF TEAMS

 

Vision or Purpose Statement:  International Healthcare Ministries (IHM) are the ABWE ministries reaching out to those who hurt in body and soul through compassionate evangelistic healthcare ministries in many different parts of the world. For this effort in Haiti, ABWE will partner with Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM), a well established, evangelical mission on the Island (http://www.bhm.org/bhm/lang-en/home.html).  This special effort will be an integral part of ABWE's vision of evangelism that leads to church planting and church planting movements. A primary objective of this trip will be to share the love of Jesus Christ by providing primary healthcare for those in need.  Caring for peoples' physical needs will often open the door to address their spiritual needs as well. 

Cultural understanding – challenges nationals face, challenges for visitors

The Culture of Haiti encompasses a variety of Haitian traditions, from native Taino customs to practices imported during French colonization and Spanish imperialism. As in the cases of Cuba and the Dominican Republic (but to a much larger degree), Haiti is a nation with strong African contributions to the culture as well as its language, music and religion. French, Spanish, and to a lesser extent (food, art, and folk religion) Taino and Arab customs are present in society.

Haiti is similar to the rest of Latin America appearing as a predominantly Roman Catholic country with 80%-85% professing Catholicism and approximately 20% professing Protestantism.  A small but growing population of Muslims exists in the country, principally in the capital of Port-au-Prince.  However, Voodoo, encompassing several different traditions, and containing a mix of Central and Western African, European and Native American (Taino) religions, is also widely practiced despite the negative stigma that it carries both in and out of the country. It is more widespread in the rural parts of the country. The exact number of Voodoo practitioners is unknown; however, it is believed that a significant amount of the population practice it, often alongside their Christian faith. In 2003 Voodoo was acknowledged as the official religion of the country!

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.  For more than 50 years the country has been decimated by scandal, correction, violent military coups, social unrest, lack of natural resources and industry, spiritual oppression and more recently, natural disasters of Biblical scale.

While a knowledge of French will be helpful to those serving in Haiti, Creole is the common language spoken by the people.
Interpreters will be obtained locally, but any participants with French/Creole languages skills will be very helpful. 

Description of the present facilities, staff, capabilities:    An ABWE staff member described the current state: "We are staying at Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM) just 12 miles outside of Port-Au-Prince (PAP). Our living conditions have been much better than we expected to find.  BHM is at an elevation of 4500 feet so the nights and most days have been cool and without mosquitos. Much hotter when we have been in PAP or at lower elevations."  Apparently BHM suffered some damage, but is reasonably functional.

Baptist Haiti Mission's website (http://www.bhm.org/bhm/lang-en/our-work-today/medical-ministry.html) provides the following information about their medical facilities and outreach ministry, BEFORE the earthquake.  You can only imagine what the situation is like now:  "When a little girl is born in Haiti, she has an 8% chance of dying before she reaches her fifth birthday. If she survives, chances are she won't live past 53. The likelihood that she'll contract HIV/AIDS is as high as 10%. These are the numbers that drive our Medical Ministry. This is why we work both in health education and treatment. With our 100-bed hospital, outpatient clinics, and mobile health teams, we have developed a growing program of comprehensive medical care. Through the generosity that comes from people like you, we are able to provide complete and professional care at the hospital and clinics at almost no cost to the patient." 

Clearly, the need for primary healthcare is even greater today.

Needs in the community – physical, emotional, spiritual

Haiti had the worst health-status indicators in the western hemisphere prior to the January 2010 earthquake:

- Life expectancy of the people of Haiti is only 53 years old for males and 56 for females
- Infant mortality is 76 per 1,000 live births
- 10% of the children die before the age of 5
- Half the population has no access to potable water and 65 percent live in poverty.
- The total health expenditure per capita is US $84 (2003) while in the USA is US $5,711

In light of the recent natural disasters impacting the island, the people of Haiti are desperate for help.  Nothing brings about a more eternal change than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In Haiti, the fear and burdens of Voodoo make this transformation even greater. Nobody understands this better than those who have lived it.

ABWE teams will join hands with BMH ministers and a network of local leaders to strengthen their community's church. You will help provide effective evangelism and Bible-based discipleship training to equip church leaders, enabling them to better serve their congregation and those suffering great loss. 

Care Providers Needed: MDs, PAs, NPs, RNs, PTs, Dentists, Optometrists, pharmacists and other healthcare-related personnel.  In addition, those not formally trained in healthcare are needed to lead in evangelism and other aspects of clinic operation.  Anyone with French/Creole language skills will be of great value. 

Logistics: accommodations, local transportation:  ABWE medical teams will be based at Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM).  Transportation will be by truck/SUV to mobile medical clinics at locations to be specified by BHM (predominantly churches).  The roads are extremely rough, so a one-hour ride may be required each direction.  Participants will receive a prepared breakfast, take a sack lunch, and have a prepared dinner each night back at the base.  Bottled or filtered water will be provided by BHM, but you may also wish to bring a filtered water bottle for use in the field.  See details about all of this in the attached Med Team Field Information Booklet below.

International air transporation is to be arranged and paid directly by the participant to correspond with arrival and departure schedule for the team.  It is important that the team arrive and depart Port-Au-Prince (PAP) at approximately the same time, or within a 1-2 hour window.  Your schedule may require you to spend a night coming and going in a US hub city (Miami, Atlanta, etc).  You are at liberty to arrange a travel schedule that works best for you, but your schedule needs to "synch-up" with a late morning/early afternoon arrival on the Saturday your trip starts, and a morning departure on following Sunday.

Navigating luggage retrieval at PAP can be a challenge, but things are improving.  We will try to update you as the situation evolves.  See details about this in the attached Field Booklet below.

Local transporation will be arranged in conjunction with BHM, including airport pick-up and return, plus transport to and from ministry location each day. 

Electrical service in Haiti is 110v / 60 cycle (same as US), so electrical converters are not required. Electric service is provided alternately by generator and government power company, but periods without electrical power are possible and would normally occur at night.  Provision will be made for battery power if electric is required at ministry locations.

Communications:  AT&T cellular service seems to work in most locations, but the user may incur roaming charges.

Costs:  Estimated cost per participant for this one-week trip is $700 plus international airfare and pre-trip expenses (passport, vaccinations, supplies).  The $650 project fee covers lodging, meals, and local transportation as described above, plus a contribution to shared expenses for medical and ministry supplies, and other local team expenses.  This is the only payment made to ABWE, other costs are one your own.  Please refer to the attached Welcome/Payment document on this page for further instructions.

Preparations and requirements:  The following vaccinations are recommend.  Additional preparation information will be provided to those accepted for service and assigned to a team.

  • Typhoid – injection (good for 3 years) or oral tablets (good for 5 years) – if taking oral, you need 8 days prior to flying to complete the course. A tablet every other day – need to be refrigerated.
  • Hepatitis A – get the first injection if you have never had it before.
  • Tetanus – recommend within the past 5 years even though US standard is every 10. Countries like Haiti/ The Gambia, etc. usually do 5.
  • Malaria Prophylaxis will not be required, although you may still experience bug bites.  The anopheles mosquito is not generally found in the mountains at the elevation where we are staying.
  • If you have not received this year’s flu shot or H1N1 shot, then we recommend you get them.
  • Scabies is EXTREMELY prevalent.  Be prepared!  Take a look at those babies and children before you hug them.

How you can sign up:

If you believe God is calling you to serve with a team in Haiti, please review the information contained on the navigation tab to the left entitled "Qualifications for Short Term Team Service". If you are comfortable serving with ABWE based on the doctinal statement, you may begin the Application process at ABWE's secure on-line site: https://applications.abwe.org/.  You do not need to be a member of a Baptist church to serve with ABWE in Haiti for this relief effort.  Register on line using a simple 6-8 character user ID and password (no spaces or unusual characters).  Once registered, select the Medical Short Term (Rotations and Teams) Application to complete.

For more information about this trip or the application process, contact Megan Hunter at megan@abwe.org or 717-909-2359.