Burn Advocates Network’s first mission to Haiti began six weeks after the devastating earthquake of 2010. The aftermath of the natural disaster included a flood of over one thousand burn victims fleeing from the earthquake’s epicenter, fifteen miles southwest of the capital. The National Burn Center in Port Au Prince was badly damaged, there was no coordinated disaster plan in place, and for the children who did survive the immediate burns physical therapy was not available.
Five years later, the makeshift tented operating rooms and ICU’s are gone. Mass migrations of the wounded are no more; but the level and availability of care for moderate to severe burns has clearly not improved, nor has the frequency of burns to children decreased. The government still does not have a plan to address this public health crisis.
A treacherous gap in care has been created, leaving thousands of children with an insecure future, and with no proper and effective burn care available. What is more alarming in the long term is the lack of training for the next generation of burn surgeons and clinicians. BAN has formulated a plan to save lives and reduce suffering which is entirely reliant on the private sector.
The plan includes:
Training – an annual burn care training course for physicians and therapists from DR and Haiti
Prevention – an educational burn prevention campaign in cooperation with the Ministry of Health
Education – sponsorship and mentoring program for young and committed Haitian surgeons
Equipment – deliver burn care supplies and equipment to struggling burn centers
Restoring the Spirit – a shared Burn Camp for the children of DR and Haiti, started January 2019
Healing the Scars – Haiti’s first laser treatment facility for burn scars was opened at Sacre Coeur Hospital in Milot with 3 days of training by Israel’s top surgeons