The team going on the Nov. 8-14 medical mission to Chantal, Haiti, includes 41 doctors, nurses, dentists, and other health professionals from five countries on three continents, says the team leader, Dr. Sarah John of Falls Church, who specializes in emergency medicine.
Other team members from Northern Virginia include Dr. Magda Barini-Garcia, a gynecologist; Barbara Raizen, a dental hygienist; and Carol Breitner of Annandale, a layperson who will volunteer in the pharmacy.
|John treats an infant eight days old|
John will be treating pediatric patients in Chantal along with Dr. Beau LaGuerre, a pediatrician from Florida. “Between us, we expect that we’ll see approximately 800 children for basic outpatient care,” she says. “Overall, the team expects to care for about 2,000 patients per day.”
The trip is coordinated through Care to Share, a project run by several priests from the Diocese of Palm Beach.
Chantal is a rural community 250 miles southwest of Port Au Prince. It’s normal population of approximately 1,500 people has nearly doubled due to refugees who left Port Au Prince following the devastating earthquake in January 2010.
Two nursing sisters at a local church in Chantal run a small dispensary, but the community has no doctor, dentist, or pharmacy. People across rural Haiti often walk four to five hours to a clinic.
|A young patient with|
a foot infection
“It is a tremendous privilege to be able to do this work,” says John, who will be making her fifth medical trip to Haiti in November. [The photos are from her last trip in March.]
“I had the pleasure of travelling to Haiti before the military coup in the middle 1980s. The people are beautiful, friendly, and gracious in the face of astounding hardships,” John says. “After the agony of the earthquake, the real question is: how can I not help? I get so much more from working there than I can ever possibly give to them. It is a true blessing.”
You can contribute to the relief mission to Chantal by sending a tax-deductible financial contribution directly to the Share to Care address on the organization’s website. Donations will be used to built a permanent clinic, purchase medications and medical supplies, and support the education of local students.
You can also donate supplies to the mission by dropping them off at the office of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, at 2815 Hartland Rd., Falls Church. Among the items needed are vitamins, antifungal creams, children’s books in French, Beanie babies or small plush toys, soccer balls, Crocs in child and teen sizes (these are needed to prevent foot infections), hotel-size shampoos and soaps, and protein supplements. There’s a complete list of items needed on the Chantal mission blog.