Bringing More Than Life Saving Medical Care

Aerial view of the FIH Compound

Forward in Health is beginning 2013 with more plans, progress, and promise than at any time in our brief history. FIH was founded in 2006 with the apparently simple mission of bringing basic healthcare to the impoverished people of  FondeFred, Haiti. FondeFred is a community of 8,000 people with another 8,000 people in the surrounding area. The closest access to basic medical care, other than a small group of nurse midwives, is in Les Cayes, 30 minutes away with a truck and when the road is open. Oh and of course there is the matter of money. There are not any medical safety nets in Haiti. You pay for everything out of pocket. For people who cannot afford 2 meals a day paying to see a doctor is a luxury most cannot afford.

Fulfilling our mission and opening a clinic has been much more challenging than we ever expected. However one of our mottos has been, “If it was easy someone else would have already done it.” No longer the wide eyed naive optimists, FIH has crossed many a road block and mountain to become wizened wide eyed optimists. If nothing else FIH is comprised of persistent bounce back up after being knocked down resilient people. 
Neighbors in front of the soon to be opened wing of the clinic

Well the promise and fruits of our labor are about to be fulfilled. Looking forward (It’s in our name after all), 2013 will see the opening of the first medical wing of the clinic! It needs finish work; paint, medical and office supplies, finish electrical and plumbing, and of course the Haitian professionals to provide the care. The clinic will have 4 exam rooms, an area for intake and checkout, and a pharmacy. It will be open 5  1/2 days per week and provide basic medical care to adults, children, prenatal care, health education, and hope. For a people who often feel forgotten without optimism for the future for themselves and their children, the clinic has been described by one mother as, “the hand of God reaching down to us.”
The second major development and 2013 accomplishment will be the opening of an FIH mission house in downtown Les Cayes. A building which is affordable and available to rent has been identified.  It requires cosmetic work, updating the electrical and plumbing, and furnishings. The house will be able to sleep up to 20 travelers at a time. Any and all profit from the house will go directly to the running of the medical clinic. Expats (new term for missionaries in another country), students, medical teams, missionaries, will not only have a life changing third world experience but know that they are helping to fund and provide medical care to the poor in FondeFred! 
A recent  success worth mentioning is that FIH has been providing clean drinking water to the community with a hand dug well. In the middle of December 2012 a 120 foot well was drilled and is able to pump out 20 gallons of fresh clean water per minute. This will be used by the clinic and twice each day opened up to the community.
It has been said by those who have done this before that a medical clinic opens the door for development and businesses to come into the community. Well we have started to see that already. FIH co- founder Paula Mulqueen, RN was in FondeFred in December and visited a new center for teaching agriculture to young adults between 18 and 21. They already have a Tilapia fish farm!  (They took the aerial photo of the FIH clinic seen on his blog. ) In addition there are plans and signs up announcing the building of a soccer stadium in FondeFred! 

So for the many who have supported FIH I’ve these past 6 years, job well done. The dream is becoming reality. There is still work to be done, but the goal for phase 1 is in site. As good as we should all feel,just imagine what these means to the people of FondeFred. An answer for a sick child crying with ear pain. Prenatal care and testing for HIV to prevent the spread to another generation. Hope for the future!