What started as a small pharmacy in Cap-Haitien, in the northern region of Haiti, more than 12 years ago has grown into a clinic providing healthcare services to hundreds of people every month.
The pharmacy was originally created by a group of health professionals and church member volunteers from Puerto Rico who provided medical supplies after the 2010 earthquake, which killed 300,000 people. The group brought medicines and supplies and administered minor medical and health services to thousands of people until 2015. Soon after, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North Mission took over its operations and has managed to continue serving students at five Adventist schools and the community at large.
Today, the pharmacy, renamed Galaad Healthcare Center, has a staff of five, including a medical doctor, two nurses, an accountant, and a pharmacist. The center will soon join Adventist Healthcare Services Inter-America (AHSIA), an organization associated with Adventist Health International, headquartered at Loma Linda University in California, United States. AHSIA exists to strengthen and assist healthcare institutions promoting physical, mental, social, and spiritual wholeness of mankind while fulfilling the mission of the church.
“Galaad Healthcare Center has mainly provided clinic service to hundreds of students in Adventist schools, mostly for free, thanks to the support of the church’s mission in the North,” said Franck Geneus, M.D., president of AHSIA. “In addition, the center has provided immunizations, not only to schools, but several communities, as well as deworming and other pressing needs that the ministry of health in the north has requested.”
Dr. Geneus met last month with church leaders and healthcare center staff members to assist with funds and resources to strengthen the center.
“They are in the process of upgrading certain requirements to be an official part of AHSIA, and the funds will help with the physical renovation of the small facility, upgrade of lab equipment, beds for outpatient care, help in the infrastructure with digitizing its management and records, and expand its work within the community,” said Dr. Geneus.
The plan is to have the Galaad Healthcare Center become a sustainable institution, and by the looks of it, they will be on their way, said Dr. Geneus. “AHSIA will continue supporting the institution but will look for external resources, not necessarily financial support, but help with equipment in the future with our AHSIA partners to improve quality of service and the range of services available for people who visit the center.”
The plan for the center is to also integrate digital medicine into their services, which will make it possible for physicians outside the center to provide medical expertise.
The center is a separate entity from Haitian Adventist Hospital in Port-au-Prince, but one that may one day have more integration, said Geneus.
One of the strategic initiatives of the current five-year period in the Inter-American Division (IAD) includes AHSIA joining with the church’s Health Ministries Department to build healthy communities. The initiative will seek to challenge local health and church leaders to implement initiatives leading to real improvements in the quality of life.
“This new approach should help foster the emergence of a new paradigm in healthcare in Inter-America by creating an effective and sustainable partnership between Adventist healthcare institutions and Adventist communities,” explained Dr. Geneus.
In Haiti, the comprehensive project is called the PLEXUS Haiti Project (PLEXUS stands for “project to fight against health exclusion and for universality of care in Haiti”). The visit on August 20, 2022, also saw Dr. Geneus speaking with over 300 health professionals and church leaders to get more members involved in launching health clubs that will teach the eight natural remedies throughout churches and schools, as well as engage Adventist health professionals in efforts to activate medical brigades across the northern region. The initiative will also coordinate efforts with the Galaad Healthcare Center throughout the North Haiti Mission.
So far, there are more than 50 Adventist health professionals in the North Haiti Mission, soon to form an official Adventist Association of Health Professionals in Haiti.
“There is so much enthusiasm and drive among church leaders, health professionals, and members at large who will be able to work together to assist the growing population of mostly vulnerable people in mission,” Dr. Geneus said.