Dr Jacquena, Haiti

Dr. Jacquena is the director of Aquin Hospital in southern Haiti. The hospital is the only district hospital in Aquin offering treatment without cost – serving all 22,000 Aquin residents. The hospital is chronically under-funded, under-resourced, and often ill-equipped to meet the health needs of the population. Even before the earthquake, shortages of medicine were common.

Dr. Jacquena and her colleagues face frequent disillusionment due to their limited capacity to care for patients. She shared the story of a seven-year-old boy who arrived at the hospital needing immediate surgery due to his condition. But lack of staff and medication meant all they could do was refer him to another health facility, that charged for their services. Whilst his parents tried to gather the funds for treatment, the boy sadly died. Being so limited in their ability to treat their patients is demoralizing – sometimes there is simply no medicine. Shortages in medicine often leave patients without medication, and when medication is available the frequent stock outs cause dangerous interruptions in care.

The earthquake caused significant damage to the hospital exacerbating this already challenging situation. Five out of the six facility buildings became unsafe to use. This forced activities into tents next to the buildings. They were quickly overwhelmed by the influx of injured patients. 

Following the earthquake, Dr Jacquena and the staff at Aquin Hospital worked with our partner International Medical Corps to care for patients in Aquin. Through this partnership they received Essential Health Packs (EHPs) sent during IHP’s disaster response. Medicines included in these EHPs addressed wide-ranging health needs. Included in the treatments received were inhalers for the management of asthma, metformin for the management of type II diabetes,  medicine to manage high blood pressure as well as an assortment of antibiotics to treat infections.

“[the donation of medicines from IHP represents the] hope to treat life-threating diseases such as pneumonia, typhoid fever, diarrhea, asthma, hypertension and diabetes in a population that does not have resources to pay for these medications."

- Dr Jacquena -

This access to essential treatments offers hope to Aquin Hospital’s staff and patients. The treatments received by Dr Jacquena and her staff continue to support the patients seen at Aquin hospital – empowering health workers to care for the patients they are there to serve.

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