Move is part of an initiative that seeks to build healthier communities, leaders said.
Published on: 09-16-2022
What started as a dispensary in Cap-Haitien in the northern region of Haiti more than 12 years ago has grown into a clinic providing health-care services to hundreds of people every month.
The dispensary was originally created by a group of health professionals and church member volunteers from Puerto Rico, who provided medical supplies after the 2010 earthquake that killed 300,000 people. The group brought medicines and supplies as well as administering minor medical and health services to thousands of people until 2015. Soon after, the North Haiti Mission of the Adventist Church took over its operations and has managed to continue serving students at five Adventists schools and the community at large.
Today, the dispensary, renamed Galaad Health Care Center, has a staff of five, including a medical doctor, two nurses, an accountant, and a pharmacist. The center will soon join Adventist Health-care Services Inter-America (AHSIA), an organization associated with Adventist Health International, headquartered at Loma Linda University in California, United States. AHSIA exists to strengthen and assist health-care institutions promoting the physical, mental, social, and spiritual wholeness of mankind while fulfilling the mission of the church.
“Galaad Health Care Center has mainly provided clinic service to hundreds of students in Adventist schools, mostly for free thanks to the support of the church’s mission in the North,” physician and AHSIA president Franck Geneus said. “In addition, the center has provided immunizations not only to schools but several communities, as well as deworming and other pressing needs that the ministry of health in the North has requested.”
Geneus met last month with church leaders and health-care center staff members to assist with funds and resources to strengthen the center. “They are in the process of upgrading [to] certain requirements to be an official part of AHSIA, and the funds will help with the physical renovation of the small facility, upgrade of lab equipment, beds for outpatient care, help in the infrastructure with digitizing its management and records, and expand its work within the community,” Geneus said.
The plan is to have the Galaad center become a sustainable institution, and by the looks of it they will be well on their way, Geneus said.
“AHSIA will continue supporting the institution but will look for external resources, not necessarily financial support, but help with equipment in the future with our AHI partners, to improve quality of service and the range of services available for people who visit the center,” Geneus said. The plan for the center is to also integrate digital medicine into the services, which will make it possible for physicians outside the center to provide medical expertise.
The center is a separate entity from Haitian Adventist Hospital in Port-au-Prince, but one that may one day have more integration, Geneus said.
One of the strategic initiatives of the current five-year period in the Inter-American Division (IAD) includes AHSIA joining with the church’s health ministries department to build healthy communities. The initiative will seek to challenge local health and church leaders to implement initiatives leading to improvements in the quality of life. “This new approach should help foster the emergence of a new paradigm in health care in Inter-America by creating an effective and sustainable partnership between Adventist health-care institutions and Adventist communities,” Geneus explained.
In Haiti, the comprehensive project is called the PLEXUS Haiti Project. PLEXUS stands for “Project to fight against health exclusion and for universality of care.” The visit on August 20, 2022, also saw Geneus speaking with more than 300 health professionals and church leaders to get more members involved in launching health clubs that will teach the eight natural remedies in churches and schools, as well as engage Adventist health professionals in efforts to activate medical brigades across the northern region. The initiative will also coordinate efforts with the Galaad Health Care Center throughout the North Haiti Mission.
More than 50 Adventist health professionals in the North Haiti Mission will soon form an official Adventist Association of Health Professionals in Haiti.
“There is so much enthusiasm and drive among church leaders, health professionals, and members at large, who will be able to work together to assist the growing population of mostly vulnerable people in mission,” Geneus said.