Zanmi Sasye has been working with the Sassier community for over a decade to promote improved health care, nutrition, and sanitation in the region. The Sassier Clinic (Clinique du Sassier) welcomed its first patients in September 2016. The Clinic is staffed by a full-time medical team – physician, nurses, laboratory technician, pharmacist. And it is visited regularly by Haitian and American pediatricians, ophthalmologists, dentists, and other specialists.
Healthcare in Haiti
Haiti ranks near the bottom of almost every measure of healthcare. One in ten children die before their 5th birthday, maternal mortality rates are 10 time higher than in the US, and average life expectancy is less than 55 years (compared to nearly 80 years for many European countries). Many rural Haitians have no regular access to even primary health care. Health conditions that are easily treated in the US result in death in Haiti. The primary killers of young children are bacterial pneumonia or diarrhea, both easily treatable with antibiotics that are cheap and widely available in many countries, but not in Haiti. In Haiti, even minor maladies can be deadly.
Full-time Primary Healthcare Now in Sassier
Beginning in 2004, we sponsored dispensaries in two locations, each staffed with a nurse and a pharmacist assistant. Yearly medical missions of US and Haitian physicians supplemented this care. For a variety of reasons, it was difficult to provide a continuity of care for patients who were treated.
Beginning in 2012, planning began for a full scale medical clinic that would be fully staffed by a medical team, with laboratory, procedure and administrative facilities necessary to provide care for both acute and chronic illnesses. The clinic was also be be a center for health education and the base for public health outreach throughout the greater Sassier area. The clinic was designed to meet all standards of the Ministry of Public Health and international agencies.
Construction began in 2015. After being fully outfitted, the Sassier Clinic opened it doors to patients in September 2016. Less than a month later, Hurricane Matthew devastated the entire area, but the Clinic was unharmed. Within a few days, debris was cleared away and the Clinic reopened to care for those harmed by the massive Category 4 storm.
In 2017, equipment and training have upgraded the capabilities of the Clinic, particularly in treating respiratory conditions. In addition, the Clinic is sponsoring the training of three public health agents, who will bring health education and outreach to all the villages in the Sassier area.
The Clinic is owned and operated by our sister organization in Haiti, Oganizasyon Zanmi Sasye. The Clinic works in collaboration with the Haitian Ministry of Public Health to provide vaccinations and public health services in the area, as well as public health education in schools, at community gathering, and other events.