Like any healthcare facility, Hôpital Sacré Coeur must be vigilant to control hospital-acquired infections. And good hand hygiene is an essential infection control practice. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), effective hand-washing in the general population can reduce the number of people who get sick with a diarrheal illness by 31 percent and reduce respiratory infections by 21 percent.
The statistics are even more dramatic in healthcare settings where compromised immune systems are commonplace. Again, according to the CDC, good hand hygiene can reduce diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58 percent and diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50 percent. The science is clear: good hand hygiene saves lives.
While Hôpital Sacré Coeur has dispensers with alcohol-based hand sanitizer located throughout the campus, nothing can beat old-fashioned soap and water. The problem at Hôpital Sacré Coeur and elsewhere in the developing world is finding a sanitary way to dry hands after washing. Paper towels are expensive and hard to keep in stock. And cloths towels are usually unsanitary.
But thanks to a generous gift from World Dryer Corporation, the leading global maker of hand drying technology, our hand drying problem has been solved.
In December, World Dryer Corporation donated 15 high efficiency dryers, which are currently being installed throughout the hospital. The first units were placed in the maternity ward and other key sites in the hospital building. The remaining units will be installed in the new clinics building when it opens later in the spring.
Had CRUDEM purchased these dryers, it would have cost at least $8,000. World Dryer’s gift will improve our hospital’s hand hygiene practices and help reduce hospital-acquired infections. Indeed, the new hand dryers will save lives. We are grateful to Dan Storto, Tom Vic and Terry Schneider of World Dryer Corporation for this generous gift to our hospital.
Hôpital Sacré Coeur is located in Milot, a town with a population of some 20,000 and the site of Haiti’s most popular tourist attraction. But there is no fire department in Milot – the closest one is nearly 20 miles away in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city. The problem is that
Cap-Haitien’s firefighting equipment is largely non-functioning. The only apparatus that works is located at the airport and this cannot leave the airport without permission from officials in Port-au-Prince. So Hôpital Sacré Coeur is on its own in terms of fire suppression.
Accordingly, a major effort has been underway at Hôpital Sacré Coeur to improve our fire safety/fire control capabilities. Over the course of the last six months, 30 new handheld fire extinguishers have been deployed across the campus along with smoke detectors. And thanks to the generosity of C. Philip McWane, the chairman and chief executive officer of McWane, Inc., two 300 lbs Amerex wheeled fire extinguisher will arrive on the campus in early February.
Amerex Corporation, a subsidiary of McWane, Inc., makes top-of-the-line fire suppression equipment. One 300 lbs unit will be located at the hospital and the other at the General Services annex. Without Mr. McWane’s kindness, CRUDEM would have had to spend more than $7,000 to purchase these two extinguishers. Mr. McWane’s generosity will help to make Hôpital Sacré Coeur a safer place – a much safer place – and we are very grateful to him and his colleagues at McWane, Inc./Amerex Corporation for their gift to the hospital.