By Dr. Matt Anderson, WWV Medical Director
This picture represents both danger and opportunity. The man in this picture is carrying a basket of pills to sell on the streets of Haiti. I’m pretty sure that he is just trying to make a living to support his family and survive. I’m also pretty certain that the contents of these pills are largely unknown and their impact on those who take them is probably less known. What does this have to do with World Wide Village and what we are doing in Haiti? Everything!
First, there is a lot of disease and physical suffering in Haiti as well as substantial poverty. This is a horrible combination with each individual problem being exaggerated by the other. It goes something like this…
The natural elements of Haiti, lack of public health education and health literacy, and the less than sanitary living conditions result in a person becoming ill (as if all of our usual ailments here in America weren’t enough). If someone in your family becomes ill and you all need to work to have enough food for the week, that’s a challenge. You think to yourself, “What are my options?” Depending on where you live they may differ, but for many Haitians the options are limited:
1) Pay a large sum of money and disproportionate amount of your monthly income to see a physician at a reputable medical clinic. This clinic may easily be over an hour away and most likely you don’t have a car so you have to find some way to get there. You will need to incur the high cost of transportation and you already don’t feel well, so an hour-long ride in a tap-tap is not appealing.
2) You could wait and hope you get better quickly, but that often doesn’t happen.
3) You can consult a local “doctor” who probably has no real medical training but has bought some medicine and may tell you to take diuretics to treat your infection. True story.
4) You can walk down to the market and buy some pills from these guys- they told you they would make you better and, remember, you’re desperate.
We’ve seen this sad scenario a number of times in our WWV medical clinics. The results are often money spent out of the patient’s pocket and nothing to show for it. The people commonly just want to get better but don’t know how and in their urgency to do so they spend money that could otherwise have gone to buy food, clean water, or to send their child to school. In the best cases that’s all that happens, but there are also cases where the unknown medication causes physical harm.
So let’s summarize this for you: an already poor person gets sick, feels bad, can’t work, loses money, then goes to spend what money they do have on a treatment to make them better only to not feel better or perhaps feel worse and have less money than they did when they started. This is not good!!
This is where you come in. The World Wide Village medical clinic is being developed to address this problem to stop the negative feedback cycle that poor health causes in relation to further poor health and worsening personal financial status. By building a clinic staffed with trained Haitian medical professionals and community health workers who are supported by American professionals we can help people to feel better and keep money in their pockets that they desperately need in order to feed their families, educate their kids, and improve their quality of life.
Your donations to this clinic can be life changing for the people of this community, and the best part is that as you do so you can also be assured that they will be treated in a manner that gives praise and glory to the one true and great physician, Jesus Christ because we also know that the healing of the physical body- while good- pales in comparison to the gift of the healing of our hearts that results in eternal salvation through Christ. He desires for us to use our blessings to bless others and we hope you will consider doing so by supporting City on a Hill.