Daphne, a 14-year-old girl, staggered with assistance into a medical clinic in Haiti. She had come from the opposite side of the island five hours drive away, according to Canadian Dr. Paul Davis, who was there to greet her.
“Her symptoms and condition were obviously compatible with typhoid,” he says. “Her lab confirmed this. She was treated with Ciprox from the PTP, and settled over four to five days without problems.”
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere with high infant mortality, HIV, tuberculosis, typhoid, malaria, hypertension, diabetes and malnutrition.
Many people die of easily treated diseases due to lack of available health care and medications. When he met Daphne, Dr. Davis was back in Haiti for the ninth time, conducting medical clinics in three underprivileged communities.
He says there is very little free health care in Haiti, and most people can’t afford to pay for medicine or services. They first go to a leaf doctor, then a voodoo doctor.
Many are treated with vitamins and pain relievers without an appropriate diagnosis and the right medications. They may buy their medicine, often outdated or of dubious quality, on the street. When they finally consult a real physician, they are often in advanced stages of their disease process.
“The PTP provided by HPIC and used by us on many occasions is often the only free, and appropriate medicine they will get,” says Dr. Davis. “Therefore we must go, and return, in order to alleviate suffering and to show compassion to those who have so little.”