Immunizations for Nurses of Leogane, Haiti
Dear Women of our world - it may seem like a small effort, but I wanted to let you know about immunizations - Hep B & MMR - that will finally be getting to student nurses and nurses of Leogane, Haiti.
When I was there during the quake - and the horrid days following - these young students and nurses and I were the only healthcare in a region of over 300,000. I was kneeling on the ground - tending to yet another horrific set of wounds. Martha was working with me - our gloves were in short supply, didn't fit or would - literally - disintegrate. As I looked at the terrible harm to humanity before us, I said to Martha, 'you've had your immunizations, right?' I thought I would vomit when I heard her say, 'Meechele, we are Haitians, we are not worth vaccine".
Since returning to the US, I vowed to accomplish that one small thing - to make sure that those caring for Haiti had some protection against vaccine preventable disease. Little did I know that it would take 5 months, endless TC, emails and pleadings before I would have the great privilege to work with Direct Relief International and Merck to traverse the complex trail leading to a few valuable vaccines being delivered to Leogane.
As the universe would have it - I return to Leogane this month - ironically - the vaccines will arrive the same day that I will and I will be able to help these bright minds, strong hearts and capable hands of Haiti to run their first immunization clinic. Direct Relief International is a GEM! You can count on the quality, humility and deep humanity in their work - I can't praise Dan Smith and his tireless work enough; Merck is donating $1000s in vaccine - on this 'test run' of maintaining a 'cold chain' (keeping the vaccine at the correct temperature) to Leogane; Scott Guenther, in Senator Baucus's Office, was thorough and followed-through at every turn; many people in Haiti - especially Mr. Murat - have had to handle the many details of customs.
What we in developed countries take for granted - even demean and bemoan - is a privilege and scarcity in areas of our world like Haiti. Social Injustice. We must speak it's name, call by its ugly truth and find our own way to vow to accomplish one small thing everyday. Measles and Hep B are two of the leading causes of death in Haiti - a neighbor just 500 miles off our coast. Social Injustice is the disaster that happened to Haiti long before January 12, 2010.....The people of Haiti are magnificent - please don't forget as the media fades away...Michele