Dr. Garzon Reflects on His Second Tenure in Haiti

As I prepare to leave here in two  days – one month after the earthquake – I’m struck with how much unmet need still exists, and also how much the character of this response has changed.

Our first days on the ground were characterized by a largely lawless, extremely chaotic, life-saving emergency response to the traumatic injuries caused by an earthquake. This was all complicated by terrible communications, no accurate information, and essentially no coordination as both the Haitian government and UN lost many staff and buildings to the earthquake.

At this stage, while the needs for food, water, sanitation, shelter, health care, and other things is still tremendous, there is most definitely a different urgency, coordination, and capacity to respond. While our program and the response as a whole is a continuation of what was started on Jan. 12, to look at where we were on day one of the response and where we are now is almost like looking at a caterpillar and a butterfly.  Along the way, there has been some transformation.

As I prepare to leave, we are in the process of standing up five clinic sites, have more than doubled our volunteer staff, and are preparing to develop comprehensive primary care programs in coordination with Haitian health care staff and the Ministry of Health.  My last week, and the work to come, will focus on developing programs at these clinics that provide comprehensive reproductive health programs, mass immunization programs, malnutrition screening and treatment programs, and full-service primary care for chronic conditions.

I will have the fortune to continue working on this relief effort from home, and hopefully will continue to find volunteers who are interested in joining the efforts here with Relief International over the next year or more. As long as there is unmet need, our work is not over.

When I have improved internet access I will have the chance to post more pictures!  Thank you all for your support!

Hernando Garzon, MD

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One response to “Dr. Garzon Reflects on His Second Tenure in Haiti

  1. Pualana Lemelle

    As a fellow KP employee in the NW region, I am so encouraged by your dedication to provide basic and so utterly necessary care to those most in need. Your stories make me proud to be a KP employee, and help make me feel connected and less helpless to such a dire situation. I take some comfort in knowing you and others are collaboratively working with relief organizations to make a positive difference in this world. Much Aloha for your efforts!

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