What We Do
Since January of 2003, hundreds of volunteers from across Canada have traveled with teams to Haiti, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic. In Haiti alone, 2-3 teams of 15-30 medical and support professionals have worked each year to provide ongoing training and therapy at one of the country’s only rehabilitation clinics. Since the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, we have continuously sent both teams and individual volunteers to work in the rehabilitation clinic, support field hospitals and other medical aid organisations, and to integrate with our local counterparts to address the everchanging needs of people with disabilities in Haiti.
More than 20,000 pounds of rehabilitation equipment and supplies have been transported with teams, each individual bringing up to 100 pounds of equipment per trip. An additional cargo shipment including a sound proof booth (for testing hearing) for Port au Prince was sent in 2007. We are working toward partnering with other aid organizations to ship, store and distribute rehabilitaion equipment and supplies in the future.
Team Canada works with numerous local organizations in Haiti, and have established ongoing partnerships with charities and community programs across the country, including:
- Healing Hands for Haiti Kay Kapab Clinic - an outpatient rehabilitation clinic where we provide training to therapy technicians, specialized rehabilitaion clinics and prosthetics and orthotics technicians
- Pazapa - a school, outpatient, and outreach program providing services to disabled children in the south of the country, where we provide training and rehabilitation support
- Tet Kole and Trinity House- an outreach and home for street children, where we provide education to children and parents in an effort to PREVENT disability
- Wings of Hope - a large home near Port au Prince dedicated to the care of disabled children, where we provide ongoing training, specialized equipment and rehabilitation support
- Orphelinat Saint- Francois - a community haven in remote poor area of the country, run by Sr. Flora, where we have provided medical and infrastructure support after devastating hurricanes
- The University General Hospital - where we provide specialized equipment and continuing medical education
- Haiti Hospital Appeal - is building a new Hospital about 25 minutes from Cap-Haitian, Haiti’s second largest city, and has taken on the rehabilitation of a number of people with spinal cord injuries since the earthquake in January 2010
- St. Bonface Hospital - a non-profit, volunteer organization founded in 1983 by the parishioners of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Quincy, Massachusetts, who has taken on the rehabilitation of a number of people with spinal cord injuries since the earthquake in January 2010
- L’Association d’Aide des Techniciens en physiothérapie pour les personnes handicapées - this is an organized group of approximately 23 trained therapy technicians working in the north of the country; we have provided specific training in areas that they identified, such as assessment and treatment of swallowing disorders, orthopedic injuries, and functional assessments
In addition to our work in Haiti, team members work year round to share our experiences, and give presentations to schools, medical and community groups in efforts to increase awareness about persons living with disability in the developing world.
While each mission is unique, in general, each volunteer has the opportunity to provide some teaching, training, and hands on care in clinic and orphanage settings, and to assist in program preparation and future planning. Depending on the skills of team members, other care and teaching programs can be planned. Recent teams conducted education sessions on sex education and AIDS/HIV, wheelchair maintenance as well as swallowing assessments. Specialized outreach medical clinics can be planned in areas such as primary health care and orthopedics surgery. Teaching occurs through Care Giver School, clinical workshops, Continuing Medical Education sessions, one-on-one teaching with orphanage staff or teaching with the rehabilitation therapy and prosthetic and orthotic technicians.
- MD: Assess patients, treat medical problems and refer patients on to therapies or nursing for additional care. Provide lectures for local physicians and visit other clinics and hospitals as needed/desired. All services provided are based on what medical supplies and other medical services are available. Creativity is a must.
- NURSES: Triage patients with a translator, assist the doctor's evaluation, and assess and treat minor medical problems on their own or in conjunction with a physician. Teach local therapists/students/caregivers basics of medical care. Work in primary and rehabilitative care in orphanages with local staff. Train support staff/translators in assisting with patient care. Participate in planning and conducting Care Giver School.
- THERAPISTS: Assess and treat all ranges of functional ability and disability. Inventory supplies and provide patient data. Teach local therapists/students/ caregivers the basics of PT, OT, SLP, and provide both general and specific guidance for patient rehabilitation. Train support staff/translators in assisting with patient care.
- SUPPORT: Aid in triage, patient data collection, inventory, taking photos, taking care of any needed clinic maintenance, logistics, creative problem solving, and all other duties as assigned by the team leader.
- TRANSLATORS: Translate for medical/therapy staff while triaging and treating patients. Assist with patient care as needed. Translate in caregiver school as needed.
- PROSTHETISTS/ORTHOTISTS: Plan ahead, if possible, with local technicians and previous volunteers. Buy or get donated materials. Make and fit prosthetics and train patients in their use. Assist in evaluation of potential future patients in need of prosthetics, working with the group of P&O volunteers in developing sustainable local programs.
All team members are required to participate in collection and update of inventory and any team member may be asked to aid with clinic maintenance, participate on committees for fundraising, supply donations, publicity, etc. to make Team Canada a success.