Tour Of St. Joseph Clinic - Thomassique, Haiti 

Until 2006, the 65,000 residents of Thomassique, Haiti, had no permanent medical facility.  In that year, Medical Missionaries built a state-of-the-art clinic (hospital) that serves not only the residents of Thomassique, but all 125,000 residents of the region.  St. Joseph's Clinic is staffed by 15 Haitian medical professionals.  They serve between 100 and 150 patients each day and facilitate between 40 and 60 births each month.  Teams of doctors and nurses from the U.S. visit the clinic several times each year to assist with special procedures and to provide professional development for the Haitian staff.  S

This tour will introduce you to the clinic and some of its features.  It is located on the edge of Thomassique, on the main road that runs from the border with the Dominican Republic to the capital city of Hinche.  The people who live in this region are among the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

The main building of the clinic houses most of the medical facilities: several consultation rooms, two operating rooms, X-ray and sonogram room, recovery room, maternity suite, and laboratory.  It is a sturdy two-story building.

Patients begin to arrive at the clinic during the night, most having walked hours from their remote villages.  They wait in the outdoor waiting area until the clinic opens at 8AM.

Pregnant women welcome the opportunity to wait inside the clinic in the maternity waiting area.

Haitian people are generally very patient.   They are accustomed to long lines and waiting for long times.  They are relieved, however, when they are admitted to the Reception area.  This means that they will soon be seen by a doctor.

After consultation with the doctor, some need additional diagnoses such as a sonogram.

Some might need stitching or minor surgery which can be done right away.  Those who need more intensive surgery are either referred to distant larger hospitals or are scheduled to be seen by the next team of doctors from the U.S.

Following surgery, patients are moved to the recovery room, where they are attended to by family members as well as the nursing staff.

At present, the clinic does not have a resident dentist.  However, patients needing dental work are seen by U.S. dentists who form a part of many of the medical teams that visit the clinic.

Patients who need medication can pick it up at the Pharmacy, which is located in a separate building diagonally across from the main clinic building.

The clinic also serves as a teaching facility for groups of medical students from the U.S. who visit with the teams of doctors and nurses.

A Staff House provides housing for some of the staff and the two U.S. Fellows who serve the clinic for a year at a time.  The facility also provides living quarters for visiting medical teams.  Besides bedrooms, the Staff House contains a kitchen and dining room that are used by staff and visiting teams.

With the growth of the clinic staff and an increase in teams of visiting doctors and nurses, the clinic needed more living space. This Guest House was added in 2009.

The facilities of the clinic are self-contained, having their own water storage and purification as well as its own electricity and sanitation.  The water is drawn from the Thomassique aqueduct and stored in this large cistern, where it runs by gravity and pumps to all the clinic buildings.

Power for the clinic comes from a combination of solar and diesel generator.  These solar panels create power during the day that is stored in batteries and used at night.  When the stored power is depleted, the generator takes over.

Several storage sheds provide space for the tools and supplies needed to operate and maintain the facility.

One very attractive aspect of the clinic is the view from its yard.  After a long day of working with patients, the doctors and nurses can sit on a back porch and enjoy this vista, which changes with the seasons.

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