Haiti’s Largest Physical Rehabilitation Center Opens

With assistance from Direct Relief International, Healing Hands for Haiti opened its doors Monday at the new Klinik Kay Kapab, Haiti’s largest physical rehabilitation center, offering comprehensive rehabilitation care for adults and children.

Healing Hands for Haiti, which provides tailor-made prosthetics and orthotics, provides rehabilitation, and trains nurses and field technicians, has worked in Haiti for 12 years. Their facility – a one-stop shop for prosthetics and orthotics as well as therapy – was destroyed two years ago in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

Almost completely staffed by Haitians, they are one of the only clinics of its kind that existed before the earthquake and is likely to stay afterward. While other organizations that provided assistance immediately after the earthquake are planning exit strategies, Dr. Riché Zamor, executive director of Healing Hands said, “We are here to stay.” He said that with an estimated 50,000 amputees in Haiti before in the earthquake and an unknown number after, their ability to continue providing artificial limbs, orthotics and physical therapy has helped hundreds of Haitians regain mobility following the devastating disaster.

The needs in Haiti are numerous. The hilly landscape and jagged street surfaces can make mobility for even the healthiest of people a challenge. Not only do many of the patients lose limbs to conditions such as untreated diabetes and infections, cultural reasons often leave the people with handicaps shunned from society, Dr. Zamor said.

Patients gain access to a better quality of life with quality medical products. “This is not any lesser in quality or technique than you would see all over the world or here in Santa Barbara” said Steven Fisher, board president of Healing Hands.

With funds from a variety of donors, including a $1 million commitment from Direct Relief – $700,000 of which has already been disbursed – Healing Hands has been able to open a temporary post after the earthquake, rent a facility while rebuilding an new one and have funds to complete the new facility, said Andrew MacCalla, Direct Relief’s Emergency Response Manager.

“We invested heavily because we really believe this group is doing the right thing,” said Brett Williams, Director of International Programs at Direct Relief. “If you can regain your mobility, then you have a chance to make it. Roughly one third of total cash grants provided have gone to Healing Hands.”

Over the past two years, Direct Relief has provided over 1,000 tons of life-saving medications and medical supplies valued at $70 million wholesale and continues to provide its medical distribution program serving 115 hospitals and clinics across Haiti.

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