Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Haiti Village Health Gains More Publicity

Doctor's Haiti mission gets a helping hand

By Nadia Arandjelovic

Helping out: Sandys Rotary Club recently donated a cheque for $5,120 to Haiti Health Village (HVH), following a presentation by its founder Dr. Tiffany Keenan, currently an Emergency Room Physician at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. HVH provides health and medical services to rural villages in Haiti. Pictured are Sandys Rotary Club's president James Watlington and Dr. Keenan.

A doctor who built a clinic in a small Haitian village has received a donation from the Sandys Rotary Club to continue her work.
The club gave $5,120 to Haiti Village Health (HVH), a charity founded by Bermuda resident Tiffany Keenan.
Funds were raised through a donation from members, which was matched by Sandys Rotary.
The money will be used to buy a number of portable solar-powered chlorine generators to provide safe drinking water for up to 5,000 villagers in Bord de Mer Limbe in North Haiti.
Dr. Keenan, who works as an Emergency Room physician at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, thanked the club and said: "This donation will provide a long-term solution to drinking water needs for many thousands of Haitians. HVH is grateful to Sandys Rotary Club for their support and generosity."
Haiti is recognised as the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Much of its 8.3 million population lives on less than $1 a day.
Dr. Keenan, a Canadian, first visited the developing country in 2006 on a volunteer project. It was then she realised how much need there was for proper medical facilities and even basic sanitation services there.

She began taking medical teams to the village each time with more doctors, nurses and medical supplies. In the fall of 2007 she raised enough money through private donations to set up a permanent clinic.
In June of 2008 she opened the clinic doors to the community and staffed the facility with Haitians, including a nurse, doctor and two community health workers all of whom are volunteers. In May of this year, she opened a similar project in the southern region of the Caribbean island.
Dr. Keenan said: "Before this people had to travel for an hour-and-a-half on foot for full-time services, or two hours by motorcycle or truck to get to the closest hospital."
Forced to drink untreated water from a dirty well, people suffered from stomach bugs, diarrhea and even typhoid, she explained.
Sandys Rotary's donation "is really going to change things" said Dr. Keenan.
"People, especially children, will be a lot healthier when the water project is started," she added.
So far every dollar that is raised for HVH goes directly towards their projects.
Dr. Keenan takes volunteers with her to Haiti three or four times each year a team of 12 can treat up to 200 patients a day. In the past year she has seen progress in the community: "I think you see the big change in the children. They are happier, their energy level is higher."
Though she didn't initially intend to become so involved in the project, Dr. Keenan did so because the work needed to be done.
She told The Royal Gazette: "My life will never be the same and I know Haiti will always be a part of my life. Haiti is where my heart is at the moment."
l For more information or to donate visit www.haitivillagehealth.ca/.

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