Port au Prince, Haiti -- On a small hill in the hard-hit Petionville area of the Haitian capital, International Medical Corps operates a mobile clinic to treat residents of a provisional tent and plastic-shelter community of 20,000 that has sprouted up in the days since the Jan 12th earthquake.
Residents are mainly those who lost their homes in the earthquake.
Saturday, International Medical Corps volunteer physician Marie-Alixe Kima and volunteer critical care nurse Simone de Brosse Adelugba worked with Haitian physician Charles Watson and a team of Haitian nurses to treat about one hundred residents of the new community. Both Kima and de Brosse Adelugba are Haitian American.
Working with their local counterparts, they conducted basic wound care to keep injuries sustained during the giant quake on the mend and other, more routine treatments. By the time the clinic opened, a large crowd of about 60 or 70 people, primarily women and children, had formed at the entry way waiting their turn.
The mother of a month-old, for example, expressed concern about her infant’s cough while an older woman completed of shoulder pain in what may have resulted from sleeping on the bare pavement of the streets.
As at other International Medical Corps facilities, two trends were visible that underscored the gradual but reduction in acute cases with the rise of more routine complaints:
- an increasing percentage of those seen were seeking treatment for non-urgent ailments.
- an increasing number of Haitian health professionals showing up in ever greater numbers.
The goal, said both International Medical Corps volunteers, was to work closely with local Haitian health care professionals so that it could eventually transition to take on greater responsibility.