Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Intro to Cash-for-Work

(Photos: A cash-for-work team clearing a clinic in Port-au-Prince of rubble.)

Hello Everyone!

The idea of Cash for Work has been around for quite some time with programs all over the world. At the most basic level it is designed to provide cash in exchange for various types of work.

Our Cash for Work teams in Haiti are doing everything from basic camp clean up to working in the neighborhoods surrounding our camps on rubble removal. The benefits of Cash for Work include the most obvious – instant cash in the hands of those that need it most – but almost as important is the pride that comes from being able to provide for your family, even if for a very short period of time as well as giving Haitians a bigger sense of ownership in the reconstruction process.

The unemployment rates were grim before the earthquake with more than two-thirds of the labor force not having formal jobs so of course with so many businesses lying in ruins the numbers are even more difficult.

The good news is that we are currently able to provide Cash for Work at four camps in Haiti with funding lasting a few more months. We’ve worked with the nuances of each camp to design Cash for Work programs that work for the people living there. For instance, in our two camps outside Port au Prince, we rotate through new teams of workers and pay more frequently because jobs are even harder to come by than in the city.

Another example is the size of our teams. In the center of Port au Prince at Terrain Acra camp we have teams of less than 10 so they can work in small alleyways, nooks and crannies to remove rubble and carry it out to streets that can accommodate dump trucks. Those teams are concentrating on clearing rubble from public spaces like streets, schools and clinics. The team in the photo here are clearing a clinic. They are anxious to get back into their neighborhoods and are working hard to make it happen. We’re fast at work looking for funding to continue to enable their efforts.

New Blogger - Deb Ingersoll

Hi Everyone -

I want to introduce everyone to our newest blogger - Deb Ingersoll.

Deb coordinates ARC's Cash-For-Work program in Haiti. As you know, the earthquake devastated Haiti's infrastructure, destroying homes and buildings. The quake also made the unemployment situation in Haiti even worse. ARC's cash-for-work program tackles both these problems. Workers are paid a daily wage to clear rubble, dig latrines and drainage ditches, and help maintain camps.

Deb will be sharing more about the program as well as her general observations from Haiti. Welcome Deb!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Articles on Haiti Rebuilding Effort

I wanted to share a couple of articles that describe the challenges of the Haiti rebuilding process.

The first is from Lindsey Coates of The Huffington post on how determining land rights is a critical and time-consuming first step before constructing transitional or replacement shelters for survivors: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsay-coates/land-tenure-haitis-elepha_b_643353.html

The second is a longer article by Deborah Sontag at the NYTimes that describes the challenges of rebuilding in greater detail: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/world/americas/11haiti.html?sq=haiti&st=cse&scp=13&pagewanted=print

I'll highlight one statistic from the NYTimes article: "It would take three to five years to remove all the debris from Haiti if 1,000 or more trucks worked daily."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Volunteer Nursing in Haiti

(Photos: Top - Latrine at Terrain Acra; Middle/Top - Patient Consultation Area; Middle - Clinic Staff Training; Middle/Bottom - Medical staff on a home visit in Terrain Acra; Bottom: The clinic staff at Terrain Acra)

I received this message and these photos today from Ann Ferguson, a nurse who spent 2.5 weeks volunteering at ARC's clinic at Terrain Acra in Port-au-Prince.

I am writing this during my last day as a medical volunteer in the clinic run by ARC at Terrain Acra. The last 2 and ½ weeks have been both humbling and awe inspiring – and it has been a privilege to be a part of the clinic staff.

The medical clinic at Terrain Acra was first established in February of 2010 to provide primary care for the people in the camp. The clinic has evolved into a busy primary care clinic which serves people from within the camp – and others who live outside the camp and choose to come there for care.

In three large tents, with no electricity or running water, in extreme heat and on plastic covered dirt floors, the medical clinic at Terrain Acra sees over 120 patients per day. It is hoped that in the coming weeks and months, a new tent can be obtained to move pharmacy activity and supplies, a refrigeration system can be achieved so that a vaccine campaign can be established, and a mental health program will begin in earnest.

The systems of care have been developed through a combined effort of medical volunteers, and the Haitian medical and general clinic staff. Clinic is open 6 days a week. Additionally, the medical team has established a system of home visits within the camp to insure that individuals in need of additional follow up care receive those services. Mobile clinics have also been established in three communities near Terrain Acra. This mobile clinic activity provides the only care to residents of very hard hit areas of the city.

Prenatal visits have ranged form 78-83 per month within the camp. Patients present for wound care daily: puncture wounds, umbilical cord care, infections, cuts, scrapes, occupational injuries and more. A triage system allows for the very young, the elderly, and the sickest to be seen first. Malaria, typhoid, prenatal care, dehydration, stress related conditions, skin infections and others are seen daily. Pharmacy and lab services are available on site. Referrals are made as needed to local specialists and hospitals. No one is turned away.

I am amazed at the level of professionalism in the clinic staff. Despite working in tents with a heat index of over 95, dirt showing through the plastic floors, some of them living in these tents nearby, they treat their patients with respect and conduct themselves with dignity and professionalism.