Haitians Aided in Puerto Rico – It’s True!

January 19th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis

 

In an inspiring paradigm shift, healthcare professionals from the island nation of Haiti journeyed to the island territory of Puerto Rico, providing emergency disaster assistance. Parallel to the Haitian earthquake of 2010, Hurricane Maria unleashed devastation on Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. In the aftermath, almost every family was without electricity, safe drinking water, shelter or telecommunications. And in a defining act of compassion, a team of Haitian doctors, nurses and logistics personnel rapidly deployed via assistance through Kansas City-based Heart to Heart International.

 

How did the Haitians perform in a new country facing grave crisis? They enjoyed several advantages over most North American. Haitians are already accustom to practicing low resource healthcare – exactly the circumstances they faced in Puerto Rico, with little in the way of laboratory, imaging, work consultants. Haitians are also very familiar with Caribbean culture – the norms and expectations found throughout that region – so they could speak effectively to their patient’s health needs. And, Haitians are comfortable with the unique diseases, such as viral Chikungunya, that are common in the Caribbean but almost unknown to North American healthcare professionals.

 

How were the Haitians received in Puerto Rico? Josue Andre, Director of Programs for Heart to Heart International, declared, ““People see us coming, and they start crying, saying: ‘Oh, we’re so glad you’re here. You came from Haiti to help us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”