Brett Williams, director of emergency response, reports from Haiti about a recent delivery for a health facility at Petionville Country Club, which has become home to 70,000 displaced people.
The Petionville Country Club, with a pool and a clubhouse, was a nice place for wealthy Haitians to hang out before the earthquake. The earthquake destroyed such large sections of the city that the people who survived moved to any open space they could find. The Petionville Club had a huge open field that immediately started filling up with families seeking a place to sleep away from any concrete buildings. It has become the largest IDP camp in the city, with 70,000 people living there.
Multiple groups have started to provide services there, one of these being Jenkins/Penn Haiti Relief Organization, or J/P HRO as they are called here. They are running a field hospital and “strike teams” that go into the camps and provide mobile medical support. Between the field hospital, four clinics, and the strike teams, they see an average of 3,000 patients a day. We got in touch with them before the last airfreight arrived, and Andrew [MacCalla] and Gordon [Willcock] visited the camp and hospital and brought some supplies. The real fear now is that the one small outbreak of diarrheal disease or any acute illness will completely overwhelm the fragile health system in the camp.
We brought a huge truck packed to the gills with oral rehydration solutions, Pedialyte, and basic antibiotics to help stave off an epidemic.
The moment we walked up to make the delivery, a nurse asked used us if we had IV tubing; they had run out and had people with severe dehydration and needed the supplies immediately. Andrew and I ran back to the truck and grabbed four cases of IV tubing down to the tent hospital. We could hear a woman in labor and saw kids getting some IV fluids.
We headed back to the truck to unload the rest of the supplies. It was an amazing thing being part of a 25-person line working together to unload the truck, and after an hour of hot sun and thousands of boxes being carried by hand, we had done it. The medicine and supplies were safe and sound in a secured storage area ready to be deployed when needed.
We returned to the clinic when the truck was unloaded and got to meet baby Alison, who had been born while we unloaded the truck. Little Alison was a healthy little girl sleeping in a box lined with a nice new blanket and a purple knit hat. She looked so peaceful it was hard to imagine what the coming years would mean for her.
As we got ready to leave, Sean Penn thanked us for the donation with a quick hand shake. The executive director of Praecipio International, a bio-surveillance organization, who was there told us the Pedialyte and Ceralyte will most likely prevent a diarrhea epidemic from overwhelming the hospital. He said this delivery was a bright spot in a seemingly dark situation.