Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Jan Jak the red rooster leads the barnyard animals holding his  Haitian flag strong.
Every Haitian is fiercely proud of their flag, and knows that it symbolizes how the Great Slave Revolt established the first free republic ruled by former slaves. Tradition holds that Jean Jacques Dessaline created the flag on May 18, 1804 by  shredding the white out of the French tri-color flag. His God-daughter Catherine Flon sewed the red and blue bands together, and is much honored for her role in creating the flag. The red band is said to symbolize the African slaves and the red those Haitians of mixed blood. An alternative view is that the red and blue are the colors of Ogou, the Vodan god of war.

The coat of arms show palms symbolizing independence, and a trophy of weapons representing the struggle to preserve the freedom of the republic. Every Haitian is also aware that the Great Slave Revolt continues as the people are still enslaved by poverty and illiteracy.

Not only do the Haitian people hold their flag dear to them, but the animals do as well, as shown in the photo above. The painting is taken from a children’s book , Jan Jak, The Rooster Couldn’t Wake Up, by Medicine For Peace Board Member, K.J.Crane. and three young Haitian artists. The final picture in the book shows Jan-Jak, a talented dancer, leading the farm animals up a hill, his arm raised high holding his beloved Haitian flag.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Colleagues in Haiti Receive Prestigeous Award

 Sister Patricia Dillon (far left) & Sister Jacqueline Picard (third from left) with Irish Charity, Haven, co-founder Leslie Buckley, and rugby star Paul O'Connel (far right), an Haven Ambassador.

The Irish Charity, Haven, has awarded the William Jefferson Clinton Goodwill for Haiti Award to Sisters Jacquiline Picard and Patricia Dillard. The ceremony took place in January 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin.

Both Sisters Jackie and Pat are North Americans, members of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, and have worked in Haiti since 1998. 

Sr. Jackie, a registered nurse, has promoted improved health care in rural dispensaries and at the Alma Mater Hospital in Gros Morne. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hospital, and is the architect and chief fundraiser of a modern outpatient facility which is under construction at the hospital.

Sister Pat has been involved in a number of successful ecological and educational projects, including planting 100,000 trees and creating a “forest” in this ecological devastated part of Haiti. She is the founder of a primary school in the impoverished Foni Bo section of Gros Morne which employs modern computer-based educational methods.

In addition to these major accomplishments, Sisters Jackie and Pat have been a bead rock in the community helping many impoverished residents overcome daily financial and medical challenges.

The Board and volunteers of Medicine For Peace and the Children’s Scholarship Fund for Girls congratulate Pat and Jackie on their well-earned award, and thanks them for their collegiality and assistance with our programs in Haiti.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Telemedicine in Rural Haiti

Advances in information technology have revolutionized health care in developed countries, and we have use low-cost, user friendly technology in a rural hospital in Haiti with considerable success. Despite deficiencies in electricity, clean water and sanitation, much of Haiti has been wired to the internet by Digicel, an Irish Communications Company. We are now able to receive pathology and radiology reports in a timely fashion, contact patients (someone in a neighborhood or village will have an inexpensive cell phone), and communicate readily with colleagues both in Haiti and in the United States. Two technologies have been particularly useful: the development of patient tracking and data collection systems, and telemedicine.

A unique patient tracking system. Patients’ compliance in return visits to clinic is a major problem encountered in practicing medicine in rural, underserved areas.  Carson Crane, MFP’s information technology specialist, developed a unique computer program that assists us in tracking and finding patients as well as alerting us to delays in laboratory reporting or patient follow-up. Consequently, we now have a nearly 100% patient follow-up. This is remarkable since many of our patients come many miles over difficult terrain to attend or hospital clinics and rural dispensaries. Further, MFP health professionals in the U.S. can monitor patient data in real time during clinic visits of difficult patients of particular concern to us.

Telemedicine. Simple, low-cost communication technologies hold promise to bring expert medical consultation to remote medical facilities in the developing world who do not have access to specialists.  Carson has developed a unique, secure MFP website for Medicine for Peace that primary care physicians in Haiti can easily access to receive consultations by MFP dermatology experts in the United States.

Teledermatology consultations consist of a primary care physician in Haiti sending a clinical history of a patient and images of the patient’s skin lesion on the secure website. Within twenty-four hours an expert MFP dermatologist in the United States interprets the history and the images, and provides a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. The system put in place is in accordance with guidelines put forward by the American Academy of Dermatology Task Force on Teledermatology. This service not only provides expert consultation to Haitian patients living in a remote area of the country, but provides a teaching opportunity between care givers in the United States and Haiti.

Our Women’s Health Initiative will benefit from this technology as we are now instituting similar  technology for physicians in the U.S. to offer consultation on problematic cervical examinations in our cervical cancer prevention program.