The new Our Lady of Perpetual Help Clinic building has been successfully completed and became fully operational in July. This remarkable structure containing 18 examining rooms, a radiology suite, a new dental clinic, a pharmacy, a medical records department, pediatric and HIV clinics and a spacious new emergency department, was completed in less than one year. It was made possible by major donations from the Evans family and the nation of Japan with additional funding from individuals and organizations from around the country.
The clinic was dedicated on June 6, 2014, by Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap Haïtien, in a ceremony attended by many dignitaries and heavily covered by Haitian television, radio and newspaper reporters. Among those present were the Japanese Ambassador, Haitian parliamentarians and senior officials, representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB). Mrs. Sophia Martelly, First Lady of Haiti, attended and spoke eloquently concerning the importance of the new building in expanding the scope and efficiency of healthcare in Northern Haiti.
The weather was unusually hot and humid for early June, but the excitement and enthusiasm of the people seemed to make it more bearable. Whereas the day before I had been seeing patients in temperatures over 100 degrees in tents left over from the time of the earthquake, which we have been utilizing until the clinic was completed, I was now touring rooms that were bright, comfortable and efficient. What a contrast!
It was reported that when video and pictures of the new clinic, particularly the emergency room, were seen throughout the country, some Haitians openly wept because of the difference between what they were used to in terms of medical surroundings, and the gleaming new, modern facility. It was another reason to have hope for the future that they and their children would finally be receiving adequate healthcare.
When Mrs. Mary Evans donated the funds to build the new clinic, she stated that she wanted the money used to have an “immediate impact” on the lives of the Haitian people. There is certainly no doubt that this has been accomplished and is another example of CRUDEM’s ability to turn dollars into deeds far more quickly than larger, more cumbersome operations. The throngs of people in the streets of Milot celebrating the opening of the clinic bear witness to Hôpital Sacré Coeur’s efficiency and community spirit.
The representatives from Japan, which seems an unlikely partner for Haiti from a geographical standpoint until you consider that they too were struck by a devastating earthquake, were most impressed and complimentary of how speedily the clinic had been erected and put into service.
The clinic, built on the accomplishments of the past and bursting with promise for the future, is a magnificent tribute to the goodness of the human spirit and the kindness of the human heart. These are not limited by borders, distance or language.
Words are not sufficient to express the gratitude of our patients and community to the Evans family, the nation of Japan and our other partners, for their generosity and cooperation in bringing this clinic building to fruition.
As is said in Creole…
Bondye beni ou. (God Bless you.)
David G. Butler, M.D.