NOVA Hope for Haiti has been running medical missions to Haiti for over 10 years. All it takes is for a doctor or nurse to come on one of our medical missions just once and they realize that while we do amazing work, which at times even saves lives, we are not really making a sustained difference in the life and health of the people we serve.
I say this will all due respect to the work we do, to our volunteers, to our donors, to the people who come to our clinic for whom there is no other medical care, and most of all with all due respect to the lives that have been saved by the care they have received at our clinics over the years. I myself have been on every medical mission since the beginning. I know first hand how incredibly important they are.
It nonetheless remains true that providing medical care one or two weeks per year will not qualitatively change the lives of the people in the community. However, having a facility that provides care 12 months out of the year, with a doctor on staff to serve the people will make that kind of impact.
Right now, there is almost no medical care in Cavaillon, Haiti. And while Cavaillon is itself a small town, it is the center of a rural population of over 100,000 people who live in villages spread out around this town center. This means that a mother or father who wakes up to a crying child who has a high fever, or vomiting, or diarrhea has no where to bring their child for help. While we can quote statistics about Haiti having the highest under 5 infant mortality rate in the western hemisphere (see UNICEF) the numbers do not do justice to the horrible reality that they represent.
I have seen women carry sick children as much as 4 hours on foot to get to our clinic in the hopes that we can help them. I have seen impossibly poor parents spending what little they have, often with charlatans to try to help their kids when they are ill. And I’ve been in Cavaillon when a funeral was held for a child who died. I witnessed the horrible grief of inconsolable parents. The pain of losing a child is just as strong and terrible if you are poor and live in Haiti as it is if you are materially well off and live in the USA; only it happens 10 times as often in Haiti as it does in the US.
A week long clinic once or twice per year is invaluable when their is nothing else, but NOVA has always planned to do more.
This is why we are striving to build a pediatric clinic as the first phase of our permanent facility. Our building project will have 3 phases which we will complete as we have the funds to do so. The entire project will cost about 1 million dollars, and will include a pediatric clinic, a staff and volunteer center with room for health education and community building project, and finally a larger clinic to see adults as well as children.
We are starting with the pediatric clinic to help first the most vulnerable population and because we believe that to help a child stay healthy and strong will increase the child’s chances of a fruitful life. The pediatric clinic can also be built within the existing structure on NOVA’s property (an old farm house) which makes this project affordable. We are just $150,000 away from being able to build the clinic and run it for year one.
We are hoping to raise this money in the next couple of months and be able to begin construction in 2013. We already have our architectural plans in place. Below are two of our architectural plans.
NOVA Hope for Haiti
Phase I: The Pediatric Clinic, estimated at $300,000.00:
Renderings of the building once completed: