Climbing Mount Canaan With a Mobile Clinic

New Media Fellows 2013

By Sokari Ekine

June 18, 2013

Also published at Black Looks

On Sunday, a dream came true. Organized by Rea Dol, women from Le Phare in Jalouzi and SOPUDEP, including volunteer nurses, came together to provide the women of Canaan with their first mobile clinic. One hillside community came to support women from another hillside community, and together they climbed Mount Canaan.

As Jacques Roumain puts it in Masters of the Dew, "Today I work your field, tomorrow you work mine. Cooperation is the friendship of the poor," and Jean Bertrand Aristide wrote In the Parish of the Poor, "That [this] is the force of solidarity at work, a recognition that we are all striving towards the same goal, and that goal is to go forward, to advance, to bring into this world another way of being...I live in Haiti."

There is no clinic in the whole of Canaan, an IDP camp of somewhere between 60,000 and 200,000. For this group of women, members of Aide Humanitarian, Sunday was a special day.  The first task was registration, and then they moved on to receiving patients and handing out medication.

Seven nurses attended to 48 children, 90 percent of whom had infections, flu and malnutrition. Of the 40 women who came, the majority had vaginal infections. Many women also had eye infections from the dust, and four women were pregnant.

It was a really amazing day. None of the women or children would otherwise have received treatment, and even if they could have afforded to pay for it, it would have taken them hours to reach the nearest clinic.

Over 300 women came on Sunday to attend the clinic, anddue to the nature of the illnesses, Rea and the other volunteers will try to return next weekend with another clinic.

Sorting out medications in Solidarity House.

Enough for the next few mobile clinics.

Women in Canaan 1 wait to receive treatment.

Volunteer nurses

Nurses and patients

The plan is to try to hold the mobile clinic at least once a month. Though finding ways to purchase medicines and vitamins and sustaining the clinic will be huge challenges, I have no doubt they will find a way. If anyone is interested in working in solidarity with this project and wishes to know more, please email me at sokari@blacklooks.org.

Sokari Ekine is an IRP New Media Fellow in Haiti writing about health and development.

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