Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Young Haitian Doctors Begin Medical Residencies at University Hospital

Via the Partners in Health website, some very good news:

Young Haitian Doctors Begin Medical Residencies at University Hospital

Excerpts from the article:

This month, University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, took a significant step toward becoming the teaching hospital envisioned after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, which devastated the country’s already-fragile medical infrastructure. On Oct. 1, the hospital’s first medical residents—all young Haitian doctors—began hands-on training in pediatrics, general surgery, and internal medicine.
Partners in Health's fourteen new medical residents at the University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
The application process was intensive and merit-based: 238 people applied and took an entrance exam. Of those, 45 were interviewed, and 14 were selected. Class members hail from all over Haiti. Some studied at Haiti’s state medical school or private schools in Port-au-Prince; others went to the Dominican Republic. Some just graduated from medical school and completed their social service year; others have been practicing for a few years. By coincidence, the class is evenly split between men and women.
"The residency program at University Hospital represents the most serious attempt, to my knowledge and during my lifetime, to systematically create a critical mass of Haitian physician specialists that will have the opportunity to be fully useful to all Haitians," said Dr. Pierre Paul, PIH senior advisor. He added that he and his physician colleagues have traditionally questioned the poor outcomes of Haiti's health sector, but now feel questioned themselves about their responsibility to improve health care in Haiti. "University Hospital and its new residency program stand as formidable evidence of the efforts that young Haitian health professionals are making to restore, in a sustainable way, hope and dignity in the future of health in Haiti."
In Haiti, one reason for needless sickness and death is the lack of trained professionals to provide health care. There are only 25 physicians per 100,000 Haitians. The United States has more than tenfold that number: 280 doctors for every 100,000 Americans.
In Haiti, half of doctors are generalists who have completed medical school and a social service year but no specialty training. Each year, about  450  graduating doctors compete for only about 150 residency positions.
Did you read that? 25 doctors per 100,000 Haitians.  
Part of the problem is brain drain.  Doctors aren't as well paid as one might expect, working conditions in hospitals are atrocious, and equipment can be scarce.  Furthermore, it's my understanding from conversations over the past couple of years that since the earthquake it's become even more difficult because many go to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), where they can get free care. Hardly a surprise.  However, that doesn't help local doctors earn a living. What a conundrum.
Here's what the article has to say about that:
The lack of opportunities leads many young Haitian doctors to seek training and employment in other countries, causing a brain drain in the health workforce. A staggering 80 percent of all physicians trained in Haiti leave within five years of graduation to practice abroad. Of the doctors who stay in Haiti, most practice in Port-au-Prince, which makes it difficult for rural people to access care. The medical education programs at University Hospital aim to slow or even reverse that double brain drain—from rural to Port-au-Prince or abroad—by encouraging talented young doctors to train in Haiti and stay there to practice medicine.
These new opportunities may make a difference.  Perhaps you could offer your prayers for these students, their teachers, the program, and the health care situation in Haiti.
Welcome to Mirebalais
The hospital itself has been newsworthy for a long time.

Here is the link to the information and video I shared with much excitement last year when the hospital was first going up:  http://srsarah.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-teaching-hospital-in-mirebalais.html  
This article is from this summer: 

New hospital in Haiti proves that aid done right can change lives

Partners In Health, along with its sister organization, Zanmi Lasante, works to improve the quality of care in the public health system, collaborating with Haitian communities and the government to train health care workers, develop new services and improve rundown facilities, including building top-quality infrastructure.
In the case of University Hospital, the Haitian government identified the need for a national teaching hospital after the earthquake, and Partners In Health/Zamni Lasante worked alongside the Haitian Ministry of Health to design and construct the $17 million facility, with the help of many in-kind donations. Through a public-private partnership, the government and Partners In Health/Zamni Lasante will contribute to operating costs, and management of the hospital will gradually transition to the government over the next 10 years.
Partners In Health builds open-ended partnerships that don't end when the earthquake donations dry up, offering a greater chance at slow, lasting progress on entrenched problems of poverty and inequality. We call this "accompaniment," to convey a shared journey.
Developing partnerships based on empathy and pragmatic solidarity — not pity or even sympathy — is the essential first step in serving people in need.
Oh, and by the way, they give some interesting details on all that aid money that people wonder about:
It seemed like so much money went to Haiti after the earthquake, but less than 1 percent of the $2.4 billion in immediate earthquake relief went directly to the government of Haiti.
In the longer-term recovery effort, the U.S. development agency USAID spent $1.15 billion, more than half going to American firms in the D.C. area and less than 1 percent to Haitian firms and nonprofits, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Haitians weren't in charge of the projects, but they shoulder the blame for failures. 
Just saying.
But here is something different.  Maybe it will change this story line. It's good to know that something is going right, and more than right. 

Thanks be to God.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow that's a great effort and the hospital is looking very huge and hope it serves for the people efficiently and truly with all of the doctor's efforts. God bless all of you.