Excellence in Healthcare Medical Bulletin
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos™ International
January- April 2011
Message from Executive Director The NPHI Medical Services Team attended the NPH International Family Weekend in Mexico. Such type of meetings where donors, supporters and staff share time are always a boost of energy when one sees how many people support and are enthusiastic about the work NPH does. They love to hear stories and how they can support more. THANK YOU ALL! Without you, we would not be able to move toward excellence in healthcare for all the pequeños. I would also like to thank all the Regional Medical Coordinators from the Medical Services Team, working tirelessly and making things happen for the wellbeing of the children. I would like to remind everyone that to coordinate more efficiently and work together, we strictly follow the NPHI Health Policy in terms of inkind donations, medical brigades and senior experts, among other topics. For inkind donations we encourage people to contact Alfredo Benitez in Miami or contact a Medical Services team representative to find out if NPH accepts specific inkind medicine donations. There is a short list of medicines that make up the basic inventory for each NPH clinic. Such medicines and medical products are always welcome. The NPH homes and the Medical Services team will always try to accommodate medical brigades coming for short periods of time. Nevertheless, an application and a brief description of planned activities are required to better serve our children and surrounding communities. We are looking for sustainable relationships between medical teams and NPH clinics not only for services to our NPH community but also to the surrounding communities. One of Father Wasson’s principles was sharing and our children should be brought up to care about others. They should visit hospitals and prisons. This is a way of combating egocentrism and selfishness. It is also a way of avoiding “pobre de mi” or “poor me”, which weakens a person and reinforces egocentrism. There are a lot of good things happening on the health arena right now. One example is that NPH Spain has created a cooperative
NPH Mexico Open House during the NPHI Family Weekend.
relationship with top hospitals and foundations for sustainable support. From taking care of medical cases that have no option in the country of origin, to training for NPH healthcare staff in their respective country or in Spain. We already have two children on the list with heart malformations and two more in need of reconstructive surgery. The 4th Annual Medical Services workshop was very successful. We had healthcare staff from all nine countries participating together for the first time. They were very happy with the material and guest speakers. The dynamics were a mixture of updates on the most frequent occurring diseases Dr. Pilar Silverman, Dr. Rachel FanFan and discussion of complicated from Haiti and Kieran Rigney, National medical cases we have in our Director DR homes. We all got the sense of togetherness and being part of a large team made up of people in all of the nine countries. We are already preparing for the 2012 workshop. The cholera epidemic in Hispaniola is far away from our NPH homes in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, thanks to the extreme preventive measures taken by the leaders of these homes. More children arrive to the Fr. Wasson Angel’s of Light, St. Anne and St. Louis programs as part of the NPH Haiti family. All the children who had surgical procedures during the first four months of 2011 are doing very well. The construction for a brand new clinic in Nicaragua is on its way. I would like to remind anyone frequently traveling to Central America, South America and Caribbean countries, to have all necessary vaccines and to be aware of preventive measures for diseases that are prevalent in the countries, such as: Dengue, Cholera, Yellow fever, Malaria, travelers diarrhea, Leptospirosis and Hepatitis A, among others. For more information on the status of such diseases you can visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ Dr. Pilar Silverman, Executive Director of NPHI Medical Services
Bolivia: The miracle of seeing There are many challenges in healthcare. Think of the frustrations we encounter in our own countries, then times that by 100 when thinking of underdeveloped countries. Healthcare seems to be sporadic at best. It is rare to find specialists in certain areas. Simple procedures and tests may be put off for months because of a variety of reasons such as money, need to travel and inaccessibility.
Guatemala Updates Therapeutic Riding or Hippo Therapy A few months ago the children in “Castillo Mágico” (children with special needs) started in a new program of therapeutic riding. Basically the therapy consists on the use of the horse movements to treat a number of physical and mental conditions. This program is an initiative of Vilma and two physical therapists volunteering in NPH Guatemala, Elisa and Hanna. The thirteen Castillo Mágico children attend the therapeutic sessions once a week with a mixture of therapy, games and enjoyment. Visiting Dentists By the end of December 2010, a team of odontologists from Germany visited our home in Guatemala. They worked and collaborated with our local dentist taking care of all the children from our home and helping to improve the dental care. The dental team, also, donated electric tooth brushes for the children with especial needs at the Castillo Magico. They trained how to use the tooth brushes, how to take care of it and the benefits of its use. Marta Garate, RN Regional Medical Coordinator, Guatemala and Nicaragua Photos: NPH Guatemala volunteer with special needs child during hippo therapy. A girl from Castillo Magico receives new tooth brush.
At NPH we strive for the very best medical care for the children. There is a mentality that we have in treating each child as if they were your own. In Medical Services it is more often then not that we ask ourselves, “If this was my child, what would I do?” Answering this question has led to great things. From children being sent to other countries for advanced, high-risk surgeries, to taking a child to the clinic because they “don’t feel good”. There are big victories and small victories that we see each day. All of them bring a smile and a feeling of joy. In Bolivia, there is a child named Alexander who suffers from nystagmus and various other eye problems. He has had a pair of glasses in bad shape for quite a while. Screws falling out, scratched lenses, improper fit. It’s hard for kids to wear glasses because of the stereotypes that come with them and the rareness in which you see kids with eye issues being treated in these countries. In Bolivia they recognized this, and got Alexander a new pair of glasses that fit good, have the proper prescription, and make Alexander look great. See for yourself! With his new pair of glasses and an incredible smile. Darren Blue, RN Regional Medical Coordinator for Peru Bolivia, Honduras & El Salvador
Mexico: Dr. Sue Haverkamp, or how to put love, reliability and professional commitment into practice. Affiliation to a family, unlike affiliation to an organization or institution, is characterized by the fact that it is lasting and certainly doesn’t end with just the beginning of a new chapter in life. The strong bond between our dear friend and colleague Sue Haverkamp and NPH shows the life transforming energy of NPH as a family that Dr. Sue with Paty from NPH Mexico. affects our life and is affected by the dedication of its members as Father Ron Hicks tellingly describes: “Dr. Sue Haverkamp began her involvement with NPH in 1989 as a volunteer in Mexico. Like so many NPH volunteers, Sue never really left NPH at the end of her term. She continued to return to NPH Mexico as often as possible to visit and volunteer.” When it came time for Doctors Conrad and Sue to plan their wedding, Sue suggested that they have it at NPH Mexico. Conrad willingly agreed to the location and they were married in August of 2000 in the Chapel of San Salvador in Miacatlan, Mexico surrounded by the multitudes of the NPH family. The entire magical celebration was filled with faith, delicious food, music and dancing and enjoyed by countless children, friends and family. Sue continues to unite many people into the NPH family
including her 5-year-old son, Julio, who delights in accompanying his mom to NPH Mexico. Dr. Sue was asked by Father Rick Frechette to join the NPHI Team for Excellence in Healthcare as the Volunteer Medical Coordinator in 2005. In 2008 she became Regional Medical Coordinator for Mexico, and generously assumed the role of interim Executive Director of Medical Services in April of that same year until Dr. Pilar Silverman was recruited five months later. Since then, Sue has continued serving as RMC for Mexico. Even though Sue is now stepping down from her position as RMC, she remains true to herself by not entirely saying “goodbye.” Instead, she will transition to a role as “Volunteer Pediatric Consultant.” We are so grateful for Sue’s amazing dedication to the family of NPH. In and out of the clinics, her skilled care, genuine love and engaging personality have made her a trusted friend and advocate for countless children. To our esteemed friend and colleague, we say, mil gracias Doctora! Dear Sue, in the name of the children of NPH and the whole NPHI Medical Services Team we would like to thank you for your professionalism and commitment to the work of our team. We are grateful for your willingness to further support our work and are looking forward to keeping in touch! Jan Weber RN, MPH Regional Medical Coordinator for the Dominican Republic & Haiti
Peru: Clinic plans include integrated healthcare Currently in Peru the home is located in a hotel in the beautiful city of Lunahuana. They are building a new complex, in the larger city of Canete, which is closer to healthcare, education and services. With the new move, medical services have been looking at our desires for a clinic on the new property. The main focus would be the children of NPH, but we are exploring the options of building a clinic that could involve all aspects of healthcare. There would be space for therapists (occupational, physical, language) and all their equipment. The building would also include consult rooms, a minor procedures room, rooms for extended stay patients, and a isolation room. We would like to have office space for a psychologist as well. By having one clinic involving all these specialties we really feel like we could reinforce the integrated healthcare team mentality that we strive for. Unfortunately our monetary needs have not caught up with our desires. With time, patience and support we hope to build a clinic on the new site that will deliver excellent healthcare to NPH and the surrounding community. The clinic project currently exists on the NPHI intranet under project number P-PER-11015.
Volunteer Lilth with Claudio in the therapy room.
Darren Blue, RN Regional Health Coordinator for Bolivia, Perú, Honduras and El Salvador.
Surgical and Medical Brigades During this first semester of 2011, NPH children had the support and care from outstanding brigades. In March, Dr. Peter Daly and his team completed more than 60 surgeries in the Holy Family Surgery Center in Honduras. Among the patients, there were several NPH children including one from Nicaragua, who traveled all the way to fix an injury in one of his fingers. He is doing really well. Also during the month of April and right after the NPHI Medical Services Workshop, a team of two ophthalmologists and a pediatrician from Spain went to the Dominican Republic. They screened almost all the children and both did some interesting diagnosis, in need of follow up to resolve the health problems. They also traveled to Haiti for a few days screening all the children from the St. Louis home and several from St Helene. Since it was their first trip, it was in part exploratory. They were really happy to support NPH and they are willing to come back soon after seeing the extreme need in the population.
Above: Hernan with his new hearing aid. Right: Before coming to NPH.
Honduras: Sounds and Voices Hernan had severe sensory difficulties as well as being mentally challenged since he was born. He came to NPH Honduras when he was a very young child, and now he is 11 years old. It has been hard to help Hernan with his special needs since communication has been such a difficulty. He has almost no recognizable speech and his hearing is extremely poor. Another hard reality is that in a lot of the countries that NPH has homes, it is difficult to find specialists and proper care for these conditions. With help from various people and organizations Hernan is now attending a school for the deaf in Hondurasâ€™s capital city of Tegucigalpa. Recently NPH was able to get hearing-aids for Hernan and they seem to be helping quite a bit. He has learned limited sign language, but it has helped immensely in communicating. Hernan stays in the city for the week while going to school, and returning to the NPH home on weekends. He is accompanied by a caregiver to help him with daily life in Tegucigalpa. It has been such a pleasure to watch Hernan grow in his personality and capacity to communicate with others. With Hernanâ€™s condition, if NPH had not intervened it is likely that he would be a forgotten child trying to make a life for himself on the streets. Fortunately he is now a thriving child with the ability to have specialized education, health care and lots of love. Darren Blue, RN Regional Medical Coordinator Bolivia, Peru, Honduras and El Salvador
Furthermore, during the days of the Medical Workshop two of our regular senior consultants reviewed all the neurological and psychiatric cases in the Dominican Republic and Haiti homes. They also were able to provide wise advise to each of the doctors from the nine countries with complicated medical cases that needed consultation. Dr. Pilar Silverman, Executive Director, NPHI Medical Services Photos: Dr. Abel, pediatrician examins a child in the DR. Dr. Moria checks the eyes of a child from St. Louis at
Hernan with Wendy, year of service youth, who cared for him last year. Wendy took on incredible responsibilities and went above and beyond in her first year of service, working and caring for Hernan. She accompanied Hernan to school five days a week and learned sign langauge to be able to communicate with him. Wendy has truly shown the meaning of love through service and leadership that we hope to instill in all of our young men and women.
Message from Fr. Rick Frechette To all healthcare teams from the NPH Homes during the NPHI Medical Services Workshop. Good morning to all of you colleagues trying to provide excellence in healthcare to all the children of NPH. Even though I cannot be with you, I offer prayers for your get together and for productive and fruitful dialogs, as you try to sharpen yourselves for important and difficult tasks. Here in Haiti, the past year especially, we have been overwhelmed. To be under competence and to be under ability with so many problems related to earthquake, to cholera, to hurricane and just attracting so many problems that the general population is suffering, just because we have a green cross on the wall and there are so few places that do. In all the difficulties we have here in Haiti it is so clear to see if we don’t keep our good inner disposition, our work turns very fast from being productive and helpful, to being rather a burden that causes criticism both for the caregiver and for the person receiving care. So as you come together and see how you can improve, as we here always try to find ways to improve, it is also to remember we all have to find ways to preserve our balance, our mental health, our positivity about life. Asking God for help, humility and to keep us humble, to keep us strong, to keep us directed in the right way and to always to see people as people and not illness. We also ask God for help in understanding the suffering, especially the psychologically, emotional and social stress that are part of a child’s illness, and try as best as we can to approach and to offer what we have to offer in holistic ways. So, lets keep our eyes on all these inner things as well as we sharpen our tools for the other challenges we face. Certainly my prayers are with you and I ask you also to pray for us here in Haiti, for God to keep us strong, wise, give us deep peace in the work we do, make us effective in a holistic and integral way. Thank you! NPHI
Father Fr. Rick Frechette, CP NPHI Medical Director Photos: Fr. Rick with a patient at the St. Philomena Trauma and Disaster Hospital. Patient from St. Damien’s Pediatric Hospital.
NPHI Excellence in Healthcare Participants from the Fourth Annual NPHI Medical Services Workshop in the Dominican Republic, April 2011.
For more information contact: Dr. Pilar Silverman at: psilverman @ nph.org Design by: Monica Ger y, NPHI Information Officer