I recently had the opportunity to visit Haiti and lead a training for CURE Clubfoot Worldwide (CCW) counselors. Beginning a few weeks after the 2010 earthquake, I lived there for 13 months, up to March 2011.The country has continued to rebuild and is trying to provide shelter, education, food, and health care to a larger slice of the population than in the last few decades.
In early July 2012, I wrote a letter to some of the key players instrumental in getting CCW Haiti back up and running. Much of that letter is below:
We have now ended the fiscal year, and I want to give you an update and some news. I hope all of you know that the amazing progress of the CCW Haiti Clubfoot Treatment program could not have happened without your work this past year, and special recognition should go to Dr. Kaye Wilkins for his persistence over the last many years. Even getting the program to be totally based in Haiti seemed unlikely just 15 months ago. While Ponseti method treatment for infants is still not accessible to all children with clubfoot, we are moving toward that goal.
Significant events of the last few months:
- Dr. Alexis accepting the voluntary role of Medical Director
- Drs. Wilkins and Cady accepting voluntary Medical Consultant roles
- Dr. Cady spearheading a rotation of POSNA members to cover the clinics
- Medical training using the new Global Clubfoot Initiative materials
- A signed agreement with Partners in Health (PIH) concerning two clinics on the Central Plateau
- A signed clinic agreement with Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti in Port-au-Prince
- Renewed enthusiasm in Les Caye with the Medical Teams International Clinic
- Finding a local source for direct import of casting materials, taking delivery of a years supply
- CBM commitment for continued funding through calendar year 2013
- Trained Counselors at each clubfoot clinic location
- The Adventist Hospital continuing to be a key clinic site and base of operations.
Significant changes for this new year:
Foot Abduction Braces (FAB) supply: John Mitchell and MD Orthopaedics (and the associated On His Path foundation) have generously supplied us with recycled and new FAB’s and fittings. We are not sure how long that may continue or if the supply will be adequate.
Being a regular CCW country program means that we are following various administrative protocols for our donors and CURE. The agreements we have with each CCW clinic are binding on all parties, and we have two clinics that regularly experience problems treating infant clubfoot with the Ponseti method in sufficient numbers.
I must mention that Jacques Kendy Bellegarde has done a great job and continues to push the program along. It goes without saying that CCW can only function in Haiti with a person of integrity as the coordinator. Thanks, Kendy.
The physicians who give so freely of their time and resources to keep us moving toward care for every child are critical to the continued success of the program. Dr Kaye Wilkins, Dr Robert Cady, Dr Theressa Hennessey, Dr John Herzenberg, Dr Francel Alexis, and many others deserve mention and our gratitude.
I do appreciate everything all of you have done and continue to do in our long term quest to eliminate clubfoot as an adult disability in Haiti.