Giving HOPE: ANPA Supporting Rebuilding Medical Education and Training in Haiti

HOPE volunteers Kristin Parlman, Physical Therapist and Lisa Jane Evans Occupational Therapist from Massachusetts General Hospital, working at Diquini Hospital in Haiti. Courtesy of Project HOPE

On Tuesday, January 12, 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti at a depth of 8.1 miles. The epicenter was located 15 miles WSW of Port-Au-Prince. The earthquake was followed by aftershocks that ranged from 4.2 to 5.9 magnitude in strength. This earthquake according to the US Geological Survey was the strongest earthquake to hit the area that is now known as Haiti since 1770. The earthquake left behind major devastation in every aspect of the lives of the people of Haiti prompting global appeal for aid. The appeal witnessed an unprecedented global response to address the needs of the over 2 million homeless and 3 million in need of emergency aid.

The Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) responded to the appeal for aid by setting up a Haiti Relief Fund to which many its members made contributions. The Haiti Relief Fund raised $36,150 which was donated to Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere), a Virginia based organization dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Project HOPE has been providing health care in Haiti prior to the January earthquake and was a natural choice to receive ANPA’s donation not only because they knew Haiti and logistics of delivering healthcare in the country, but also because their mission and vision align with those of ANPA. It is on record that immediately following the devastating earthquake, Project HOPE sent more than 100 volunteer doctors, nurses and medical technicians and delivered more than $60 million of medicines and medical supplies to Haiti.

Professor Ajovi Scott-Emuakpor
Several ANPA members including Dr. Ajovi Scott-Emuakpor also made humanitarian visits to Haiti to provide medical care to the sick and wounded. Dr. Scott-Emuakpor, a Professor of Pediatric Oncology at Michigan State University, Lansing, MI, and Chair of ANPA Program Committee told The Jackson Citizen-Patriot: “For a whole week we watched the television, and the more we watched, the more incredulous it became,” he said. “We reached down deep into our hearts and asked, `Can we do something?’ … And we started making calls.” Within a few days, Dr. Scott-Emuakpor and three other doctors traveled to Haiti to treat patients in a makeshift clinic near the airport outside of Port-au-Prince. The team treated more than 300 patients each day for a whole week.

The work of Project HOPE continues in Haiti with the efforts now focused on rebuilding medical education and training as focus turns from disaster relief to intermediate care and long-term health education and care programs that will help ensure those injured during the January earthquake have hope for a full recovery. It was therefore heartwarming when ANPA received a letter of appreciation from Project HOPE signed by Dr. John Howe, President and Chief Executive Officer last month. In the letter, Dr. Howe stated that “… this grant will support our efforts to rebuild medical education and training, beginning with an assessment of health profession needs and resources in Haiti…”

As a member of ANPA I can not be more proud of our organization’s contribution to ensuring hope for a full recovery for those injured during the earthquake. Members of ANPA should also be more pleased to see that not only is their donation being put to good use, but also for one that is congruent with our mission. Kudos to ANPA, its executive committee, and all its members. This act has once again demonstrated that we are our brothers’ keeper and that we are committed to the service of humanity.

Thank you ANPA and keep up the good work !!!!!!

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