Saturday, 5 June 2010

Haiti – Day 4

La Saline clinic is in one of the poorest parts of Port-au-Prince. It once offered health care services to the local population, but in recent years it has fallen in to decline. With limited supplies of drugs, equipment and skilled staff it now only sees a handful of people each day. In addition the government have opened another larger clinic nearby and so the Church has to consider how best to utilise this valuable resource that complements what is already available.

We talked to Dr Eli Nicoli, a former senior government health advisor, but who is now volunteering to provide advice and expertise to the Methodist Church. He talked of the great need for good primary health care in Haiti, a country that has the highest maternal mortality in the western hemisphere and that is not proactive in co-ordinating public health schemes. Childhood immunisation levels are not high and many suffer from malnutrition and infectious disease. Family planning services are improving but have a long way to go to ensure good maternal health, and back-street abortions are common place, with the consequent major risk to women’s lives.

Methodist clinics in some of the more rural areas are providing a much needed service, but others in towns need review and Dr Nicoli is helping the Church to do this.

Our visit to Haiti was only brief but we were able to get a good idea of the scale of the task ahead. For a country with so little we were overwhelmed by the warmth of our welcome and the generous way we were looked after. We did not leave feeling depressed, but impressed and challenged by a resilient and vibrant people who were doing their best to get on with rebuilding their lives. If only they could have a period of stability and good government, Haiti has great potential for the future.

As we drove through the city once again we passed the ruins of the Catholic Sacre Coeur Church. Amongst the rubble the cross of Christ remained standing – a powerful symbol of the crucified Christ standing alongside the pain of Haiti’s people, but also giving hope of a resurrection that holds the potential to be more glorious than anyone could have hoped for. It is our prayer that Methodist around the world will continue to help and pray for Methodist in Haiti, in order that they can be change agents that leads to the better future all Haitians long for

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