Dr. Gail Nield’s parents always encouraged her to be kind, helpful and charitable, and to use her skills to benefit others, not just herself.
For the past three summers, the dermatologist located in Woodbridge, Ontario has been travelling to northern Haiti to provide care and to train local health professionals. She goes equipped with a Humanitarian Medical Kit provided by Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) and filled with a standard assortment of essential medicines and medical supplies donated by companies in Canada like Pfizer. Her kit included Vibramycin, Cortef, Dalacin C, Arthrotec, Eryc and Diflucan donated by Pfizer.
Pfizer has been a major donor to HPIC since 1994, sponsoring the organization and donating needed medicines. Last year, Pfizer gave $4.7 million worth of donated medicines. Through HPIC, Pfizer has equipped thousands of doctors like Dr. Nield for medical missions as well as provided medical relief during emergencies and to health projects in impoverished communities.
“Most Canadians have access to excellent medical care,” Dr. Nield says. “(In Haiti), they save up their money to buy medicines from the hospital pharmacy, but often they cannot afford the medicines…even if they can afford the medicine, sometimes it is not available.”
Before Dr. Nield arrives, the radio alerts the community and people travel great distances for the chance to be seen by a dermatologist and to receive medicines free of charge.
60 per cent of Dr. Nield’s Haitian patients were children with conditions such as skin infections, infestations like scabies, fungal infections and eczema. “As a dermatologist I was able to treat numerous patients with skin infections, using the oral antibiotics, such as Eryc given by Pfizer. Many adults and children had serious bacterial skin diseases such as widespread impetigo and infected traumatic wounds and ulcers. These patients all responded to these antibiotics, which they would not have been able to afford otherwise.
“We all care about how we look, whether it is here in Canada or in rural Haiti. Many patients had grade 3 acne, requiring Vibramycin, given by Pfizer,” she reported to HPIC.
“As always, the patients seen at Hôpital Bon Samaritain in Limbe, Haiti are very grateful for the medications and supplies given to them to help them heal. I can’t thank you enough for providing this service. And it certainly makes my time in Haiti easier, knowing that I have the medications and supplies available to help my patients,” Dr. Nield wrote as a thank you message to HPIC’s donors in her project report.