Physical disabilities present a chronic public health challenge in developing nations across the globe. In Haiti, where the 2010 earthquake immediately increased the disabled population by 10%, providing humanitarian assistance to people with disabilities is a critical component of national recovery. The absence of services for people with disabilities leads to an enormous financial and emotional burden on caretakers and a caustic stigma against the most vulnerable portion of Haiti’s population.
Shortly after the earthquake in Haiti, AFYA developed the first model for homecare and local access to rehab medicine in Port au Prince. The program began by training Haitians to become Rehab Techs or Adaptive Builders and, over the last four years, has grown to include a team of 33 Haitian AFYA employees. They manage four clinics in Port au Prince where they have treated 4,500 patients and have completed 1,500 adaptive building projects. AFYA’s Clinical manager was able to develop five new Living Well classes for the clinic which teach patients and their families how to treat and prevent common diseases. In addition, AFYA’s American Warehouse Manager worked with the Haitian staff to develop a more efficient inventory system using cloud technology. This will help staff there and abroad keep track of rehab supplies and donations.
With the generous support of JetBlue, AIRLINK enabled five US-based AFYA staff members to travel to Port-au-Prince in March to develop a critical inventory and patient record system, set up new rehabilitation programs, and collect survey data from patients.
- 300 pounds of rehab supplies were brought to Port au Prince by AFYA staff.
- 60 patient surveys were conducted, allowing AFYA to develop rehab techniques and classes that are specific to the Haitian culture and allow patients to live and work independently.
- 15 American and Haitian staff members worked to construct a new 400-ft2 warehouse to store rehab supplies.