ITIAH Angels for Learning’s (IAFL) mission focuses on providing education and wellness to impoverished children in Haiti. In aligning with this goal, nutritional education and medical aid efforts are underway. IAFL has begun to collaborate with École Mère Louise (EML) to provide the first phase of medical consultation under the leadership of Dr. Jean Luther Thermidor. The goal is to provide students a complete physical assessment and optimize their health. Included with the physical examination are: laboratory findings and recommendations for follow-up. It was very important to have the students’ parents and guardians be involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The school’s principal and Florise Altino-Pierre, IAFL’s health and wellness specialist, spearheaded the facilitation and execution of the medical mission. Dr. Thermidor, along with three physicians and a medical assistant, arrived last November at EML. About 30 students, ranging in age 8-12-years old, were evaluated. The students were engaged and excited. This one-day project, in alignment with IAFL’s vision, fulfilled its goal to reach “… one student at a time, one school at a time, and one community at a time. By helping students to learn, we aim to elevate entire populations and create social progress.”
The project’s findings proved that health education and promotion are undoubtedly needed. Approximately 63 % of the children showed signs and symptoms of urinary tract infection. The remaining 37% were of gastro intestinal disorders such as: intestinal parasite (worm) in stool, H. pylori and gastritis, and blood, respiratory, lung and dermatology disorders such as sickle cell anemia, asthma and scabies.
In addition to completing physical examinations, follow-up treatment and education were essential. Laboratory findings were communicated with the parents so they can follow through with treatment plans. Next steps to ensure health promotion continues in organizing a health fair. The fair will appeal to our community to donate First Aid Kits, OTC Products, healthy hygiene bags and educational materials, which will be organized and shipped to the children. Further discussions and planning are still occurring to address the psycho-social needs of the children.
A whole-hearted thanks to Dr. Thermidor and his team of medical professionals, EML’s principal, Sharon Scipio, Kristina Patel, and Florise Altino-Pierre, for recognizing the importance of life-long learning and health awareness so that communities will grow and optimize their livelihood.
By Florise Altino-Pierre