By the time you read this, Beatrice Marseille, a Nurse Practitioner in Mt. Sinai’s oncology unit, will be leading a medical mission to her hometown of Meyer, nestled in the mountains, two hours from the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince.
“People walk for hours from the mountains and line up early in the morning, then they wait for hours to be seen,” Marseille explains. “They are very gracious and appreciate what we are doing. That’s why every year I try my best to go back.”
Marseille’s mission to Meyer is sponsored by Vision for Haiti, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 by a group of concerned Haitians in Spring Valley, NY, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and other healthcare workers.
Providing much needed care
Little did they know that shortly after starting the medical relief organization, the nation would be struck by the devastating earthquake of January 2010. Every year since then, Beatrice has led a growing group of healthcare providers to staff the Meyer primary care clinic, the only healthcare facility serving a region of 35,000. Although the facility is open year round, no nurses or doctors work there.
This year, in addition to providing hundreds of vaccinations against tetanus to the largely livestock-raising population, Beatrice will be bringing an OB/GYN doctor and a midwife. “Otherwise,” she says, “the women will have no access to a doctor before they have their babies.”
Beatrice this trip is working side-by-side with three Mt. Sinai colleagues who are also NYSNA members, Gueldye Beaubrun, Lucienne Stfort, and Joyce Walker. This will allow a second primary care clinic to open, doubling the number of people seen during the week of June 21 – 29.
In Haiti, approximately 6.5 million people live on less than $2 per day and healthcare is unavailable for 70% of rural area residents and 50% of urban residents.