Beginnings: a look to the future with Haiti through ISUOG

Haiti

(Image by ISUOG Outreach)

Lisbet Hanson, MD is ISUOG’s Ambassador to Outreach in Haiti and a current member of ISUOG’s Outreach Committee. Dr. Hanson has led and joined numerous trips with ISUOG Outreach in Somaliland, Ghana, but in particular Haiti where she has extensive experience in. Dr. Hanson has chosen to share her passion this month with by guest blogging about the upcoming Outreach project in Haiti and the struggles that are ongoing to get this trip going this year:

 

Every January 1, we celebrate the opportunity of new beginnings: a New Year fresh with possibilities and hope. There are fireworks and festive occasions. We make grand plans and promises we swear we will keep.

 

We have good intentions, we really do – but occasionally, plans do not work out and they have to be tweaked and adjusted; maybe even abandoned.

 

I had hoped to be blogging from Haiti today but unfortunately despite a huge effort on many the scheduled ISUOG Outreach trip to Cap-Haïtien, Haiti for January 19-24, 2015 had to be postponed as we continue to work to solidify an ultrasound industry partner.

 

The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, which also means “door” in Latin. The god Janus had two faces, allowing him to look back into the past as well as forward into the coming year.

 

As we look back, ISUOG Outreach has much to be proud of. Many of you have volunteered to put “boots on the ground” and assisted in developing curriculum, lectures, and even started your own outreach -that’s progress! The problem is that so much more needs to be done. In many parts of the world, the first of January is just another day of living on the edge of survival without access to healthcare or safe deliveries.

 

On January 12, we reflect on the anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake that occurred five years ago. Some of us were there and many gave substantial support. We all remember those horrific statistics but according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s “Haiti by the Numbers”:

 

  • The number of people still living in informal tent camps, as of September 2014 is 85,432
  • The number of individuals living in informal settlements on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, not counted in official displaced population, according to Haitian government is 300,000.
  • Total amount awarded in contracts and grants by USAID was $1.5 billion
  • Percentage that went directly to Haiti organizations: 1

 

On January 19, we commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy in the United States of America. We celebrate his many contributions to human rights and we remember his eloquence, particularly with these quotes: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane” from a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights in 1966 and “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve” from his speech given at The Drum Major Instinct on February 4, 1968 in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

The statistics can be overwhelming and the battles may seem hard and uphill. And it may be easy to become discouraged and paralyzed by it all, but together I know we can do extraordinary things.

 

Looking forward to 2015 when ISUOG will be in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti to make this program happen and indeed do extraordinary things and providing ultrasound training to local trainees.

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