The first and central pillar of our work is our outpatient clinic, Centre de Sante de Gatineau, where we see an average of 55 patients each day, four days a week with Dr. Wolf and a Haitian physician assisting her.

Curative Care

Basic primary health care is offered at the clinic to patients of all ages for treatment of both acute and chronic medical conditions. Patients come from the communities around Gatineau, as well as communities high up in the mountain areas above the clinic. Others come from the town of Jérémie and other larger towns further away. All are seeking to improve their health and we are there to help and guide them, giving them answers to their questions and medical expertise to the best of our ability.

Patients wait on front porch.
Patients wait on front porch.

Typical Clinic Day

Greeted by registration clerk/chaplain Adrien.
Greeted by registration clerk/chaplain Adrien.

Patients come the night before or early in the morning to secure a place on benches in the outside waiting area of the clinic.

They are greeted in the morning by registration clerk/chaplain Adrien Jean Jacques, who explains how the clinic functions.

He gives out numbers for patients to be seen in the order in which they are seated and then leads them in a short Bible reading and prayer.

Dr. Catherine Wolf, clinic Medical Director, has lived and worked in Haiti since 1982. In fluent Creole, she also greets patients every morning, sharing important health advice and encouraging them to be faithful in follow up of chronic medical conditions.

She gives out numbers to those patients who have follow-up appointments and those who are enrolled in a special follow-up program designed for patients with diabetes and hypertension. These patients are guaranteed a consultation on the day they come in if they follow regularly. It’s a way to help them be compliant with their medications.

Then greeted by Medical Director Dr. Catherine Wolf.

After having their number called, the patients are registered at the registration window by Adrien. Each patient has a unique medical record number and medical chart which is used for all their clinic visits. We recently implemented an electronic medical record system on tablets and photos are taken of each patient.

Patients are then seen by the nurses who weigh them and take vital signs.

Patients who are acutely ill with fever or obvious acute medical problems are seen first.

Vital signs checked with nurses

Patients are then seen by Dr. Wolf or Dr. Fortil (Haitian physician working with us) and sent to the laboratory for lab tests if needed.

Physician consultation
Dr. Fortil
Lab Tech Febee Juedy

A small Emergency Room is available to receive patients coming to the clinic with urgent problems. They are often brought on stretchers carried on the shoulders of 2 men. They are evaluated by the nurses and Dr. Wolf and, if they are felt to be in need of inpatient hospitalization, they are referred to the government hospital in Jérémie. Otherwise, they are treated and sent home with medications and a follow up appointment in a few days.

A well-stocked pharmacy is available for the patients to purchase medications prescribed by the physicians. Medications are pre-packaged in small plastic bags and nurses give them instructions regarding how to take them.

Giving instructions
Well-Stocked pharmacy shelves
Pharmacy meds on shelves

The clinic has an Indigent Patient Fund to help those patients who are unable to buy their medications. In addition, we have a special Diabetes Institute where our most needy diabetic patients can come in for consultation, blood glucose testing and medications for a minimal fee. We also give gifts of rice and beans to patients who need them.

One of the joys of working in the clinic is being able to give gifts of toys and clothing, given by US churches to Haitian children. We distribute handmade dresses, diapers, baby caps, beanie babies and toy cars to brighten the faces of our little patients. They and their parents are grateful!

Centre de Sante de Gatineau has been approved by the Haitian Department of Public Health for functioning and we participate in their national nutrition program and immunization program. All children under the age of 5 are weighed and evaluated for malnutrition. Those who are found to be malnourished are entered into a three month program where they receive protein supplements in the form of peanut butter (PlumpyNut) and are seen every two weeks by our nurses. Immunizations are given to infants and pregnant women one day each week.

We provide prenatal care, including ultrasounds, to pregnant women and we also do minor surgical procedures and dressing changes for those with chronic wounds.

In the past, we enjoyed having visiting medical providers and teams came down to help us provide specialty services such as Pap smears, gynecologic consultation, upper GI endoscopy and minor surgical procedures. Since March 2020, the US State Department put Haiti at a Level 4 Security Level and with increasing gang violence and kidnappings in Port-au-Prince, we no longer accept visitors down here. We look forward to a time of political stability in the future so we can continue these important services for our patients.

At Centre de Sante de Gatineau our care is holistic and we see some patients so often they become like family to us. It’s all part of living our faith and helping to improve health and also change lives.

Are You A Medical Provider?

If you are a medical provider and are interested in helping us out in the future, either short-term or long-term, please contact us at friendsforhealth@gmail.com.

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