It’s no secret that healthcare in Haiti is scarce. The average life expectancy is 63 years, 30% of the population is considered food insecure, and the infant mortality rate is 55 per every 1000 live births (as compared to 5.8 per 1000 in the United States). While unfortunately, some of Haiti’s debilitating conditions are untreatable on a large scale, many diseases are avoidable with regular check-ups and nutrition monitoring. We are blessed to have the incredible Lisa Hellmann, MSN/APRN/FNP-C travel frequently to The Joseph School to keep our kids healthy. She recently performed end-of-the-year check-ups on our students and we are glad to report some updates from the trip!
Thanks to Lisa and her dedication, the health of the students at The Joseph School continues to be superior to that of the other Haitian children in the Cabaret community. 28 students who are deemed at risk for summer malnutrition will be placed in our summer nutrition program, which Linda helped pioneer. This program ensures that students and their family units who may lose weight over the summer have sufficient access to healthy food.
Kennylove Georges received her scoliosis brace in May 2018. She is being treated through Healing Hands for Haiti under the care of Dr. Pascal. Lisa continues to coordinate her plan of care alongside Dr. Pascal and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Nau. Per Dr. Pascal, 6-9 months of bracing and biweekly physical therapy will determine whether surgical correction of the sternocleidomastoid muscle is needed.
As much as we could list off all of Lisa’s great work, we know you’d love to hear from her personally. Below we’ve included an excerpt from her that tells her perspective and of a story of a little girl and a baby doll:
“There are many special needs adults and children throughout the Cabaret community. One of these special needs children, Fedli was gifted a wheelchair earlier in the year by Terrell Smith, one of The Joseph School’s board members. On this trip, I was able to check-in with Fedli and see how her new wheelchair was impacting her life. I also delivered a baby doll that Terrell had sent to Fedli.”
“Needless to say, Fedli and her family have been greatly blessed by not only the gift of the wheelchair, but also by the outpouring of love offered by The Joseph School and its supporters. The gift of a baby doll seems small, but for a child who has nothing…the doll was an expression of the love we have for her and also the love God has for her as well. Watching her react to the baby doll, immediately cradling it and loving on it reminded me that every little girl deserves a baby doll…even special needs children in Haiti. It was a precious moment that I will never forget.”
We cannot thank Lisa enough for all of the time and generosity she has poured into our school. Largely thanks to her, The Joseph School students receive the proper medical care to stay healthy. Thanks for providing hope through health, Lisa!