The first time he went to Haiti, Jean-François Bussières was discouraged. “I was shocked, I vomited, I lost consciousness, I was frustrated,” he recalled. “The quality of care was not ideal. The hospital is disorganized. They are dealing with many problems: parasites, HIV, hepatitis. There are shortages. For example, caregivers sometimes don’t have sterile or clean gloves and they don’t have enough.”
That was two years ago and today, he feels he is over the shock and more equipped to contribute to the work his Haitian colleagues are doing to reorganize the St-Michel Hospital. “We become more useful as we become immunized against the shocks and discomfort. With a spirit of humility, we can get closer to the people there and we can start to make a difference.”
Jean-François, who serves as chief pharmacist at Montreal’s Ste-Justine Hospital for children, came to thank Pharmascience for their donations of medicine to Health Partners International of Canada at the all-employee meeting of 1,600 Pharmascience employees Jan. 26.
“Just a few hours in a plane and you arrive in a country that is totally disorganized and chaotic,” he shared. “It makes you understand why Haitians want to leave.”
Haitians make about $1 – $2 a day and nothing is covered, he says. Patients must pay for everything. Access to good medications makes an enormous difference.
Every time Jean-François travels to Haiti, he brings humanitarian medical kits supplied by HPIC. The last time he went in the summer of 2015, he carried three products especially donated by Pharmascience to his project: Clarithromycin, Amoxicillin and Naproxen.
In Haiti a lot of medicine that is available is of inferior quality or expired. “The medicines provided by HPIC are essential to our project,” he said. “I am able to take care of the patients thanks to these medicines. Thank you to HPIC and thank you Pharmascience.”
Jean-François is part of a Canadian Red Cross project to reorganize the St-Michel Hospital in Jacmel, Haiti. The hospital is currently under construction and is expected to open this year. Jean-François is planning his next trip to Haiti for this spring.
Pharmascience was the top donor of medicines to HPIC in 2015. In total the company has provided 5 million courses of treatment through their donations to HPIC over 21 years.