Kingston Charity’s Medical Team Treating Victims of Hurricane Matthew

By Steve Gerard, Kingston Herald
October 9, 2016

As families in Canada get together this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving, staff at the Kingston-funded Helping Haiti medical clinic are struggling to treat those most affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The clinic – situated in Cité Soleil, one of the most impoverished cities in the world – is located at sea level and therefore experienced serious damage from Matthew’s heavy winds, rains and storm surge.

Purposely built to withstand this sort of punishing weather, the Helping Haiti clinic was open to shelter neighbouring families during the storm, but none appeared due to concern their belongings might be lost to flooding or theft.

Head nurse, Mario, treats patients after Hurricane Matthew
Head nurse, Mario, treats patients after Hurricane Matthew

Now the clinic’s staff, who themselves have families recovering from the disaster, are treating some of the most needy citizens for injuries and ailments associated with the storm.

The medical team is headed by lead nurse Mario, along with 4 more nurses – two of them doing internships – and 2 nursing assistants.

Mario has informed Helping Haiti’s Kingston founder, Tammy Aristilde, that people will soon shoulder a tremendous amount of sickness due to flooding and the lack of proper sanitation.

He has also expressed concern that antibiotics are very expensive now, as is food and other necessities.

The team is trying to ensure patients are eating before taking medication received from the clinic and, although the clinic won’t be able to do a general distribution for the area, patients who come to see nurses and need food will have a bag of food given to them.

Garbage and sewage in flood water near Helping Haiti clinic
Garbage and sewage in flood water near Helping Haiti clinic

Tammy Aristilde – a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, presented by the Governor General this summer for her work in Haiti – says the charity is in need of funds to help the people most affected by the storm.

“We require more medication and to afford extra wages during this difficult time,” said Aristilde, adding that all donations will go directly to the front line.

She reports Helping Haiti will be supplying the clinic with rice, peas, and oil for patients in need, along with water purification and medications.

“Basically the clinic is working with what they have,” Tammy explained. “If they have more money for medication, they’ll be able to assist more people.”

For more information, feel free to check out the Kingston Herald’s coverage of Helping Haiti’s efforts to improve the lives of people in Citi Soleil.

You can lend a helping hand by donating now to Helping Haiti, allowing its hard working medical team to treat the people most impacted by Hurricane Matthew.