Since twinning with St. Joseph Parish in Cotes de Fer in 2009 the parish has conducted many medical mission trips to the village of Cotes de Fer and the surrounding mountain chapels with physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, a pharmacist, and nurses from our local area. In addition to treating patients and providing medical supplies, patients are taught about preventive health care through presentations conducted while patients are waiting to be seen. Donated personal care items are used as gifts and an opportunity to teach hygiene as disease prevention.
We are grateful to Shell Global Solutions US, Inc. for their generous contributions through their employee match program. Those contributions have enabled us to purchase the medicines necessary to support our new hypertension program. Many lives will be saved because of their support. We would also like to thank The Brunswick (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated for their partnership with the Haiti missions and hypertension program.
The medical teams cannot treat every problem that they encounter. Some patients require surgery or long-term care. It is heartbreaking to hear that the patient has never seen a doctor in his/her life or that the $1.25 needed to be seen at a hospital or clinic is not affordable. As a result, many of the problems go untreated until something like a small cut becomes a life-threatening situation. There is now a small hospital near the village in Cotes de Fer, but it is not readily accessible to the remote chapels, and available treatments are very limited.
Cancer diagnosis and treatment is almost non-existent. Appointments can take over 4 months if the patient has the ability to travel to a major city. Of course they have to stay there to receive the chemo treatments which is way beyond their ability to finance. As a result, most go untreated.
Although every illness cannot be treated, there are many patients that the teams can and do help to live a better quality life. They are also continuing to explore ways to bring additional health services to the area. All members volunteer their time for the week-long mission as well as countless hours in preparation for the journey. Many also contribute to the expense of the trip as well. We also receive great support from individual and corporate donors as well as our partners including Southeast Georgia Health Systems and Brunswick Chapter of The Links, Inc. Patients are never charged for their visits nor their medications.
If you would like to lend your support for helping to save the lives of those who cannot afford basic medical care, please visit our donation page.