Forward in Health began with co-founders Paula and John Mulqueen traveling to Haiti on medical teams lasting 1-2 weeks. All of the members of our Board of Advisors have traveled to Haiti on a FIH sponsored medical trip. Even with the completion of the medical clinic, Klinik Fonfred, the mobile medical teams remain an important part of our mission.
FIH sends 2-3 medical teams to Haiti each year. 2-3 doctors, 3-6 nurses, and non-medical volunteers from many walks of life, travel for 7-10 days at a time working out of makeshift clinics. This may be a school, church, or even at our clinic. We travel to remote areas outside of Fonfred to see patients and refer them to Klinik Fonfred for future care.
Mobile medical teams are composed of medical and non-medical men and women. Everyone is put to good use during clinics. Non-medical people may work at “intake” taking basic information, with crowd control moving patients from one station to another, or even helping out in the pharmacy.
Men and women with medical training are able to use their training at clinics which are set up wherever they are most needed. They may travel up a mountain to a village and work out of a school. They may work out of a church, field, or dilapidated building. The need determines the location.
During medical trips we see adults and children, and our Medical Teams see 100-150 people per day in the makeshift clinics. People are seen with illnesses such as malnutrition, anemia, intestinal worms, ear infections, skin infections, and pneumonia. Children have been treated for Malaria, Tuberculosis, and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. In addition to seeing patients for medical care all patients leave with multivitamins for a month, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for future fever or pain, a tooth brush and tooth paste.
Travelers on medical trips, like all trips overseen by Forward in Health to Haiti, pay their own expenses. Trips can range from $1,600 to $2,100. The air travel to Haiti and ground travel around the country are the most difficult to predict and can vary greatly from trip to trip.
Members of medical teams are required to complete an orientation conducted by FIH co-founder Paula Mulqueen, RN. The orientation typically consists of three 2-3 hour long sessions. During these sessions travelers are oriented to Haiti and the Haitian culture, the degree of abject poverty they will see, proper dress, conduct, and expectations of the trip.
Medical members of the teams have often expressed similar feelings about the trips; they feel better about their chosen profession. One orthopedic surgeon in his 50’s stated that, “This is the best I have felt about medicine since I was a resident.” That was back when was in his late 20’s. FIH co-founder Paula Mulqueen, R.N. has said that a medical mission changes you so that once again, “your job once again becomes your vocation”.
People return from medical trips as better doctors and nurses. Non-medical people are similarly touched and affected by their work with the poor. Everyone has the same feeling; you have to come and experience a trip to Haiti yourself.
See our FAQ’s for more information.
Information about week-long medical team trips contact Paula Mulqueen, R.N. at PMulqueen@ForwardinHealth.org.