News

After the dust settles

Helping with health care in Haiti

Helping with health care in Haiti

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday January 19, 2010

There are many worthy organizations involved in the immediate effort to bring relief to Haiti. Haiti needs financial aid right now, but as the dust settles, it will continue to need even more help with health care assistance.

Dr. Pierre Plourde, Medical Officer of Health for the Population and Public Health program at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is working with organizations (NGO's) such as EMAS (Education, Medical Aid & Service; emascanada.org and HPI Canada (Health Partners International of Canada) hpicanada.ca to look at not only the immediate medical needs of this devastated country, but also how health services can be extended beyond the 'first response.'

"In two to three months; millions of dollars will have been spent, the specially trained disaster first responder folks will have left, aid workers who were on the ground when the earthquake hit will be completely exhausted. And yet, Haiti will be even worse off than before the earthquake," says Dr. Plourde.

Dr. Plourde has served as a healthcare Team Leader in Haiti for EMAS Canada for almost a decade, assisting with medical services, teaching and supporting development of medical infrastructure there. He is presently working with EMAS and HPI Canada on developing a strategy for post-response health care assistance for Haiti.

"The health care needs of Haiti prior to the earthquake were immense. Prior to the earthquake over 80% of Haitians were desperately poor. Many did not have access to clean water and 40% did not have access to medical care. Haiti has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate, the worst AIDS problem and the worst malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere. In the aftermath of this devastation, the health care needs of this impoverished nation will increase 10-fold."

As the tragic images continue to fill our TV screens, Dr. Plourde waits to hear from his Haitian friends and to plan his next steps. In all of this he is incredibly thankful for the support of workplace, church, family and many friends.

To assist with Haiti's Health Care needs visit www.emascanada.org or www.hpicanada.ca.

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