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Some good news from Haiti, one year later

It was one year ago, January 12, 2010 that the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti struck.   We all remember watching in disbelief the news videos of the utter destruction and suffering of the Haitian people. When Liz Sheehan of Containers2Clinics, one of our most visionary charitable Grommets, saw what was happening there, she sprung into action. She instantly decided to send their first pilot health clinic to Haiti and, after many months of hard work, delivered it to Port au Prince. There C2C is helping to restore basic health services, especially to the very needy Haitian women and children during this overwhelming time.   Since November, C2C has had a fully operating clinic in Port au Prince at the Grace Children’s Hospital.   The hospital was nearly completely destroyed due to the earthquake.  Before C2C arrived, its patients had been receiving care under weathered, unsanitary and unsafe tents on the hospital grounds.   As of today, over 1,000 maternal patients have been receiving care by C2C in clean, safe and healthy conditions.

Here is an update from Kathleen Fleming, C2C Program Director

Haiti earthquake news

Kathleen Fleming

This is our eleventh operational day, which after a year of planning, feels huge.

We’ve so far seen a daily average of about forty-five women and their babies, and reports from C2C’s Project Coordinator, Handy Tibert, at Grace Children’s Hospital suggest that everyone’s adapting to the space very well, and vice versa. The clinic was committed as maternal care center, and is staffed by two gynecologists, a midwife and two nurses. The pharmacy space should be fully functional by the end of today and the head laboratory technician continues to transition services into the C2C lab. This is all coordinated in conjunction with the C2C program staff but decisions are made and “actioned” by the leadership of Grace Children’s Hospital. This partnership relationship has been interesting. It’s new for GCH to have a partner as hands-on as C2C: the way we explain ourselves seems almost entirely novel in this environment – we aren’t donors, we’re partners; we don’t do anything for GCH, rather we do everything with them. This isn’t a typical aid relationship, but then again, we aren’t your typical aid organization.

C2C is committed to expanding access to critical primary care for maternal and pediatric populations, and the clinic is our vehicle. However, we don’t believe it’s enough to provide “access” simply via the facility. We don’t drop a clinic down, dust off our hands, and say “you’re welcome.” Far from it. In fact, having been in the trenches the past few months, I’d actually say that it isn’t until we drop a clinic that the real work begins. Once the clinic is set up and we begin evaluating the systems it absorbs (e.g. medical record keeping, pharmaceutical inventory management, efficiency/comprehensiveness of lab diagnostics), we start making recommendations for improvements. C2C’s entire bent is monitoring and evaluating the quality of the services patients receive at our facilities. This may only be our pilot, but eventually we want the C2C moniker branded with quality standards – marketing both to patient and partner NGO populations.

We’re in the early, early stages of second site development, and making certain that the emphasis we put on being hands-on around quality assurance is front and center in our preliminary conversations. There’s a sweet spot between micromanaging and donating, and we’re honing in on it. In the meanwhile, check out a few photos taken by our project coordinator, Handy’s phone. Not great quality, and we’ll have to get him to take a break from setting up the lab to capture a few real shots.

To see Daily Grommet's original feature of Containers 2 Clinics, click here.


  • Zach Says:

    Great blog post, Sara and Kathleen. Thanks for calling attention to the ongoing work being done in Haiti. Its quite heartening to see tangible impact amid such destruction. Keep up the good work!


  • Sara Says:

    Hey Zach, Thanks! C2C is doing remarkable things in Haiti and beyond and we are happy to spread their message.

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