From machetes to mango trees – Medicine from HPIC heals the wounds

Ten-year-old Wilken fell out of a mango tree one Saturday afternoon and put his teeth through his lower lip, displaced his top front teeth, and broke his arm.

When he arrived at the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission two days later seeking help, his mouth was a mess and infection had set in. The dentists at the mission stitched his lip and fastened his teeth in their proper place. They started him on antibiotics from Health Partners International of Canada for the infection, and set his broken arm. The clinic team opted to keep him on site to ensure follow-through with the antibiotic treatment.

Eighteen-year-old Alex arrived at the mission with an infection as well. His was due to popping a blister he had produced using a machete. When he finally came for help three weeks later, the infection was so bad that the medical staff feared he would lose his hand, or at least the use of his hand.

Two types of antibiotic from HPIC were used to treat the infection and his hand healed. Canadian volunteer Rev. Tina Simpson-Leslie expresses the relief of the staff: “He is a great young man, and we all hurt for him. We were so very thankful when his hand healed.”

Wilken and Alex are among the hundreds of young people who are treated at the NWHCM medical facilities in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti every year. The population of the northwest region of Haiti suffers from extreme poverty, malnutrition and lack of clean water.

Without the mission, most people in a catchment area of 55,000 would not have access to school and medical services.

HPIC’s involvement with the mission has grown from the provision of several PTPs per year since 2005, to larger shipments of medical aid beginning in 2008.