PARTNERING TO ADVANCE THE MISSION OF LA GONAVE WESLEYAN HOSPITAL
Despite the difficulties posed by the political unrest in Haiti and the Covid-19 pandemic, La Gonave Wesleyan Hospital has been able to provide excellent care for patients living on the island of La Gonave, Haiti.
The hospital has benefitted from the involvement of long-term missionaries and short-term teams. Since 2014, Bob Vermaire, a family physician, and his wife, Marcia, have been serving faithfully as Global Partners missionaries at the hospital.
Dr. Bob spends much of his time working alongside and educating Haitian physicians. Many of these physicians have a significant impact on the level of care at the hospital, as well as the care of patients throughout Haiti, since some of these doctors leave to work on Haiti’s mainland. Marcia is involved in numerous ways at the hospital, including coordinating visiting teams and building relationships with other organizations on the island.
Over the years, short-term medical teams to La Gonave have had the privilege of being involved with the work at the hospital, the Wesleyan University School of Nursing, and in villages on the island. These teams include surgeons who have performed operations that cannot otherwise be done on the island.
Visiting teams have a major impact by the work they do, as well as being a source of encouragement to the long-term missionaries and the Haitian staff. Whether they have been there once or on numerous trips, most people who visit the island leave changed and have a desire to see the mission thrive.
Recognizing the numbers of people whose hearts have been changed by their time in Haiti, GPHN (Global Partners Health Network) formed the La Gonave Action Team in 2020. The team is comprised of people with a strong connection to the hospital who are committed to raising awareness about the hospital, recruiting, and developing teams and individuals to serve at the hospital, to provide administrative assistance and oversight, and to raise financial support.
The team’s first major undertaking was raising funds for a dedicated Covid-19 unit. With a generous $10,000 matching gift from Global Partners Covid-19 Response Fund, a total of $28,000 was raised, allowing the hospital to staff the unit through the peak of the pandemic until cases decreased. The hospital and the La Gonave Action Team are grateful for all the donors that participated in this effort.
With a new year and vaccines being administered, we were thankful to have four members travel to Haiti in late February 2021 to reconnect with the hospital and the Vermaires. The team spent time interviewing key people at the hospital. Three major needs arose: 1) additional funding to increase staff salaries and hire specialists at the hospital, 2) a way to expand staff education, and 3) more visiting teams. In addition, two smaller needs came to light: Bibles for Pastor Bertand to give to patients and a spirometer for Dr. Badio, a pulmonologist, to provide better care to patients.
The La Gonave Action Team is excited to start meeting some of these immediate needs while strategizing to find ways to address the greater needs. Perhaps you are thinking, “I could help with this” or “I’d like to join the next team trip to Haiti.” Email me at email@example.com if you’d like to learn more!