Archive for the ‘Julian Malinak’ Category

Return to Bahon

Posted: October 27, 2011 by Cap Haitien Health Network in general, Julian Malinak, Juline

We made our third trip to Bahon, what the Haitian government says has the worst health indicators in the north and second worst in Haiti.  It has a twin parish with Holy Family Catholic Church of Nashville, Tennessee, led by Patty Gaines. Our last planned trip, 1 year ago, was cancelled by the tropical storm, as was Patty’s trip, so the village was even more in need of help.

It was 2 hours by bumpy ride from Cap, now seemed to be a little shorter and less bumpy. We were driven by our friend Father Abraham, as our newer, better car for this difficult trip was still not credentialled to be used after 5 months (see story from Elisabeth about that). We had nice stops at Hopital Sacre Coeur, where we met with Dr. Previl, and at Hopital Grand Riviere, where we got a grand tour of a very nice not well known new hospital staffed by 21 Cuban docs and nurses (see blog by Julian).

Josh and Anna in Grand Riviere du Nord

Father Gaby was our host, and runs a very nice parish with a school, rectory/guest house, and clinic, called St. Joseph’s, with the help of Sister Rose and Sister Cecilia (who is also a nurse and runs the clinic).  The sisters have taken care of Joshua since he was a little baby and first came there and slept in a little “manger” that they made for him.  This time he was following around and playing with the boys of the village, who all learned how to pronounce his name very well.

This clinic has a doctor working there only once a week (not the day we were there), the rest of the time Sister Cecilia runs it.

Next morning we did clinic, with the help of Elisabeth and Juline, and Julian did some pill cutting so we could distribute a large amount of donated 100 mg captopril tabs and also for 500 mg griseofulvin tabs we bought at the pharmacy in Cap for Tinea Capitis.  We saw 35 kids.  Included was a now 2 year old that a pediatrician with us last year found to have anal atresia with a vaginal fistula. With great difficulty, we helped arrange for surgery in Cange by a pediatric surgeon from Harvard.  Her anus is now beautiful as an anus can be, and she is growing and developing pretty well.

The worst case of the day was a boy with an extensive dental infection.   

Bahon has a lot of dental problems (there is a theory there is something about the water) and we brought a lot of toothpaste and some brushes we could gather.  We are trying to arrange for mobile clinics with the Cap Haitien Dental Institute and ongoing dental visits there by the Haitian dentist, Dr. Junior, and Patty has a dentist coming with her team in January.

Julian, Juline and I also visited the MSPP Dispensaire that is also in Bahon, a few hundred feet south of the Catholic clinic, on the river.  It has a delivery area, the nurses deliver babies in the clinic, and provide other care, as there is no longer the weekly physician visit that they used to have. We met Mdm Napolean the nurse, and another worker there told us about her 5 year old son with undescended testicle (which is much later than would be ideal to be treated for that condition).  She brought him to be seen at the clinic we held St. Joseph’s, and we used the Network calendar to find out when there will be surgeons and urologists who might be able to treat him.

Dispensaire of Bahon, along the Grand Riviere du Nord and close to St. Joseph’s clinic

We encouraged the staff at both clinics to interact and assist each other, especially as St. Joseph’s is the only one that gets visiting teams.  We are looking for organizations and teams that might like to help the Dispenaire.

We always enjoy our visits to Bahon.  It is a beautiful community that is isolated and needs more assistance in health and dental care.


Yale Global Health Conference

Posted: April 19, 2011 by julianmalinak in Julian Malinak

I can’t wait to go to Cap in a month, but in the meantime I’m trying to get a final fill of learning from afar about the issues down there.  This weekend was a fun-filled one at the Yale Global Health and Innovation Conference, put on by Unite for Sight, an amazing NGO dedicated to supporting eye clinics worldwide by investing in human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate patient barriers to eye care.  It was filled with lots of inspiration nuggets and interesting people–a real celebration of that huge multitude of activities which we label “global health”.  Sometimes the sheer creativity involved in an organization’s work would be the most memorable thing, like when Sasha Kramer of SOIL talked about her organization’s work installing toilets in Haiti and collecting the compost as a way to improve sanitation and renew the soil from the effects of deforestation.  Or in a talk by Living Goods about its micro-finance operations in Uganda with door-to-door health promoters who make a modest income selling essential health products (soap, etc.) at prices affordable to the poor. They have impressive supply chain and distribution system which combine real buying power of basic products in bulk (to allow for low prices) with a network of distribution centers to keep the health promoters supplied with goods for their mini-businesses.  Throughout the talks are reminders which are usually both cliche and true, and which I have heard many times but always need reminding of, like:

–Do not just provide medical care, but empower communities to provide it for themselves

–Determine the impact you really care about, find a metric to measure it, and follow through with measuring it

–Do not expect everything to go as planned, and be prepared for detours

–You may have a great product or service, but make sure people have access to it

The list could go on.  Needless to say I had a great time, but at the same it made me feel a really urgent need to really get out there and get things done!


Hands up for Haiti and Vassar Haiti Project

Posted: April 9, 2011 by julianmalinak in Julian Malinak

Hi, I’m Julian, and will going down to Cap from late May through the end of the year, supplementing and then replacing Hannah Steadman’s role as team leader of the Network Support Team!  I’m super excited to go down!  I’m originally from Montana and am in my final year of Yale’s joint Bachelors of Arts/Masters of Public Health Program.  I’ll be going to work in the health care and public/social sector practices of McKinsey & Company when I return from Haiti.
It’s been exciting to connect with some of the Network Organizations in the northeast US since joining the team a few weeks ago.  I attended a meeting with Hands up for Haiti last weekend.  Many topics were discussed, including logistics related to getting volunteers down to Haiti, fund raising, and procurement of medications.  It was exciting to hear about the degree of community involvement–there are so many people in the NY metro region and beyond interested in getting involved!

Yesterday I went to the Vassar Haiti Project, a great effort celebrating its tenth year anniversary.  They get lots of great artwork from Haitian artists and sell it at the Auction to support their projects in the village of Chermaitre, Haiti (near Gros-Morne in the northwest), supporting the artists’ livelihoods in turn.  The project started as an effort to build a school, which now operates as a fully functional 7 room school (before it had only 1 room)!  They work with church leaders and community members to do an impressive array of projects in the village and surrounding area, including reforestation (done by local workers) and a new project to build a medical clinic and find staff to operate it.  I was really impressed by the depth of the college students’ involvement–it’s hard to find that on a college campus since there is always so much going on!

Please contact me if we can do anything for you, and again, I’m excited to get to know people involved in Haiti!

Julian Malinak