Lifestyles and standards of living symbolize levels of social development and technological achievements in society, yet another
major gauge is salary. Every month as data is compiled for Centre Medical Campeche and Centre Medical Gabriel Vital’s payroll,
a persistent dilemma plagues our conscience and tests our ethics. Today, this issue is brought to you, first to partake in a
human experience and second to motivate you to donate and help.
For just under a minute, we will shift our attention from the plight of the poor and destitute of the slums of Port-au-Prince and
to rather concentrate on the struggle for survival of the professionals in the health industry in Haiti: physicians, nurses, lab
technicians and auxiliaries. The price of one decent dinner in the USA will pay the monthly salary of a nurse in training; one trip
to the gas station in an SUV will pay the monthly salary of a Community Health Agent.
Fondation Bienfaisance operates charitable medical centers in very poor neighborhoods, the population knocks at our door
anytime of the day or night for all kinds of medical emergencies and other urgencies. Therefore, we maintain a large staff
composed for the most part of nurses in training. On hand day and night, and to whom we pay a small stipend for their services
during the training, the nurses in training are crucial for the smooth running of our activities.
Nurses in training are in large supply because of lack of opportunities, and yet every year more and more nurses are
graduating from nursing schools. Centre Medical Campeche and Centre Medical Gabriel Vital are forced to turn away many
great potentials, and can only accommodate so many. When training is over, nurses in training refuse to leave our medical
centers because of lack of prospects for possible employments elsewhere. Some elect to serve for months without
compensation in the hope that they will ultimately be hired as regular staff, opting for the perks connected with our medical
centers (training, clothes, food, etc) and that sense of belonging so important in the Haitian culture and psyche.
The alternative to this somehow free labor is a grim and harsh reality. The other option would be to stay home and join the
long lines of the unemployed, the depressed, the commercial sex workers, the drug dealers, the thugs, the kidnappers and the
chimeres. This unfortunate reality holds true for auxiliaries, lab technicians, other health workers and even physicians.
In the absence of hope and under frantic influences, health workers easily put down the stethoscopes and thermometers to
pick up the machetes, the knives, the assault weapons and the condoms. These agents of health become agents of death; we
need not illustrate; such cases are portrayed too often in local and international news media.
In the near future and with your help, Fondation Bienfaisance hopes to do more for the health workers. Our goal of promoting
and providing health and health care services to the less fortunate will not be comprehensive, if we were to neglect and
overlook the struggle of the health workers, the very people who dispense and deliver day in and day out the much needed
Fondation Bienfaisance wants to care for the caregivers by implementing project Adopt-a-Health-Worker. The project, as the
name implies, gives you, the donor, and the opportunity to adopt a health worker by paying his/her salary every month for
whatever period that you elect. You will not only support the objectives of the organization but also you will play a central role
and make a world of difference in the lives of entire families. You will make it possible for a young person to keep his/her dignity
by reporting to a workplace and earning his/her livelihood as a respectable and productive member of society. The white attire,
dress, stocking and shoes will be wore with honor and pride as the principles of the profession demand. Such opportunities
restore self-respect and self-esteem among the young workers and have positive ripple effects on society at large. At this point
in time in its history, Haiti is desperate for positive vibes and optimistic dispositions.
Fondation Bienfaisance’s Board Members are often told to avoid the mistake of setting too broad and wide-ranging goals for
the organization. This advice may hold true in functioning societies, but in societies where the social fiber is torn and
institutions have failed, the mistake of being indifferent and uncaring poses a bigger threat than that of setting wide-ranging
goals. In a poor society like Haiti, simple goals turn out to be too broad and wide-ranging due to the absence of basic
structures. It is our intent to promote and provide health and health care services to the less fortunate. But how can we
promote and provide care when the nurse is hungry and the patient is naked?
The monthly salary for a nurse is $95.00 and that of a nurse in training about $55.00
Romuald Blanchard, MHCA
Fondation Bienfaisance, May 2005
Adopt a health worker by paying his/her salary every month for whatever period that you elect. Your donation is to be made
to Fondation Bienfaisance by check or by credit card (PayPal). You may donate anonymously or you may elect to contact the
nurse assigned to you. At Fondation Bienfaisance, Inc., the donor remains in control of his/her donation.
|A case for the Health Workers