man speaking to audience
Dr. Gary presents on COVID-19

Since January 2014, Health for Haiti students and staff have collaborated with a community in rural Grande Saline, Haiti to improve health. Although unstable conditions in Haiti resulted in the disappointing but necessary cancellation of the January 2020 Health for Haiti class and trip, we are proud and excited to see the community taking their own steps to better health.

This week Dr. Gary, a Haitian doctor who has worked closely with Health for Haiti for several years, met with the community in Grande Saline to share information about how they could best protect themselves from COVID-19. Community leader and school principal, Pastor Dorcent Berlando, urged local families to attend the session. “We felt it was necessary to let the community know about the risks. We know that this community is very vulnerable in terms of sanitation and hygiene,” explained Pastor Berlando. The church was filled to capacity with community members who learned about the importance of hand washing and how to recognize and respond to symptoms of infection. This night time meeting, lit with lights powered by Health for Haiti-installed solar panels, showed that our collaboration is initiating a real change in the community.

Over the years SUNY Broome Health for Haiti students have shared high quality education with the community in Grande Saline. While in Haiti, we delivered lessons on hygiene, infectious disease, microscopy, and health. Health for Haiti always leaves Haitian Creole versions of the lessons behind and local teachers use and share the lessons so that the entire community is better informed about how to stay healthy. In a community that already faces many challenges, the high quality health and science education is unique and empowering. Pastor Berlando credits Health for Haiti staff and students with helping to transform health in the community. “Thank you because we learn so much from you. You give us a lot of motivation to be who we are today.”