Haiti Cranbrook Community Clinic 2015

A team of volunteers headed up by Dr. Bob Cutler from Cranbrook, BC travelled to Haiti this fall to continue working with Haiti Arise ministries, where they provided medical care for the community and surrounding communities. The Cranbrook Community group has been working in Grand Goave since 2006 and has helped establish a long-term medical clinic called Zanmity (meaning 'friends helping friends'). This locally staffed facility is open to the public during the week to provide them with medical care, as well as a place for public showers and a clean water source.

  • 1003 patients were seen
  • 53 patients sent for further testing and diagnosis (Xray/Ultrasound/Hematology/Echocardiogram etc).—to be followed up by the Zanmitay Clinic team
  • 50 baby packs distributed—funds for 100 additional left for distribution at the clinic
  • 2 goats purchased for the goat farm
  • Emergency food supplies given to one family
  • 9 patients identified for surgery
  • Portable Ultrasound machine left (and training provided) with the local clinic doctor


Dr. Ken Brown interacts with a patient at the Zanmitay Sant de Sante (Friends Helping Friends Health Center) Opening day had the team see about 100 patients with varying degrees of sickness.

Presidential elections were held in Haiti on 25 October 2015, alongside local elections and the second round of the legislative elections. Seventy candidates were initially in the race, including 64 men and six women.

Nurses prepare the pharmacy, take inventory, count and package medicines in preparation for the first wave of patients.

Simonne Haney along with Dr. Ken Brown and Dr. Bob Cutler review a medical chart.

Nurses Cara Roulston and Britt Hogue review a medical chart and decide what the best course of treatment is for one of the locals.


Haiti Arise Ministries has a number of ongoing projects in the area all designed to help support and bring security to the Haitian people. The recently completed goat farm provides a local source of food that is locally owned and maintained by the people. I was asked to accompany Pastor Lawrence and Pastor Marc Honorat to dedicate the farm. Staff from HaitiARISE ministries look over the completed farm and give it their blessings.

I visited a local family and took a few photos while they showed me their house and property. An amazing and very friendly family.

It was another beautiful day in Haiti and the team had a day off from the clinic. This was the perfect time to head out into the surrounding community of Grand Goave. Two nurses from the HaitiArise clinic traveled to provide some home visits in the community as part of the community outreach we are doing. We were able to see eight patients in their homes. The majority of the patients suffered from diabetes (very common in Haiti) and many others also struggle with hypertension. HaitiArise provides monthly follow-up teaching for each patient to help manage their medical issues. The RN on our team, Simonne Haney, has many years of experience working with disease management and was able to provide teaching for the Haitian nurse during the course of the visits. It was mutually beneficial and we had a great experience!

This elderly woman suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, a common crippling condition that makes life even harder in Haiti. Many elderly men and women suffer from this condition and require the help of family members during the day for even the most basic of needs. This particular woman was very sore with arthritis in most of her joints.

The medical team works late into the evening stocking the clinic with tubs of new medicine that finally arrived. Unfortunately the medicines were held by Haitian customs for several days. After difficult negations and several days of hard work, the medicines were released.

Faces of Haiti
Poverty in Haiti affects its people in many aspects of everyday life, including housing, nutrition, education, healthcare, infant mortality rates, as well as environment. Haiti has constantly been plagued with low levels of living conditions, with many Haitians moving into the capital city of Port-au-Prince in a bid to escape poverty in the more rural areas of the country. Levels of poverty in Haiti are generally regarded as among the most severe in the western hemisphere. Yet their remains a spirit and spirituality in Haiti like nowhere else. Haitians are resolute and tenacious and, in time, will move beyond the horrendous hardships they are currently facing. They are people are beautiful.

Dr. Bob Cutler takes a moment to chart.

In an already struggling country, Haiti faces yet another obstacle. An influx of seaweed has begun hitting parts of the Haitian coastal areas and struggling tourist locations. The seaweed invasion is often several feet thick and clogs beaches for miles. In fact, this problem can be seen in most southern coastal areas recently and has caused the closure of popular beaches, not just in Haiti but in other popular tourist destinations as well. Scientists think the problem is caused by global warming, resulting in a shift of the oceanic ecosystem.

Haitian men work daily to remove the seaweed from the beaches and water so that tourists can enjoy the beaches. They first lowered a wooden boat down the embankment and then began scooping up seaweed by hand in small baskets. At the end of the work day they gather together and lift the wooden boat back up the embankment. The process continues everyday until the seaweed is removed.

This is how you hitch a ride from Grand Goâve to Jacmel in the blazing Haitian heat! The trip totalling about 62Km and took just over two hours to travel the winding mountain roads! Good thing we took Gravol before leaving!!

Water is an essential part of life. No one should ever be without daily access to clean drinking water. All too often, the water upstream becomes contaminated before the residents in the valley have a chance to utilize it. This forces villagers to either go without water or walk miles in search of clean water, then make the walk back to their homes carrying several pounds of water. Luckily there are a number of wells in the area that HaitiARISE and others have worked to develop that makes fresh drinking water a reality. Now the locals don't have to travel as far to get fresh drinking water.

This young boy walks one of the narrow paths every day to fill the family's container.

Sometimes a trip to the local exchange was required. This involved travelling by motorbike to the surrounding homes to find a location that had the right amount.

Abbi Kellington at the intake room pre screening and taking patient information. Weights, Worm Pills, Blood Pressure and other tasks were performed before patients went to the waiting area.

A return patient. One of the Cranbrook community doctors looks after this little boy who has no hands or feet. They returned for a check-up with tests coming back as normal.

Dr. Ken Brown works with Dr. Fritz on a pregnant woman. They use a new portable ultrasound connected to a tablet to view images on the baby.

Britt Hogue puts in an IV for a patient suffering from a severe infection and dehydration. This woman's foot was severely damaged and required immediate medical attention and wound management to bring everything under control. The woman made repeated visits to the clinic to recieve medical care.

After diagnosing the 46-year-old mother and wife with a treatable heart lesion, the family brought us this letter expressing their gratitude (pictured above). The letter was written in Creole by the husband, who is one of the local pastors. Loosely translated, the family expressed their relief in finally receiving a diagnosis for their ailing loved one, after nine years of visiting local doctors. We sent the woman to Port-au-Prince for an Echocardiogram which made the diagnosis and will determine the method of treatment. The family was most appreciative of the way they were treated, not only by our Canadian volunteer team, but by every one of the Haitian staff at the clinic and during transport. It is not always that Haitians are kind to Haitians. We work with excellent people. 

Britt Hogue pauses for a photo with a local orphaned girl who came to the clinic for a check-up. This little girl at only 10 years old was abandoned by her parents and left to stay at the orphanage on her own. Neither the number of children or the number of institutions is officially known, but Chambre de L'Enfance Necessiteusse Haitienne (CENH) indicated that it has received requests for assistance from nearly 200 orphanages from around the country for more than 200,000 children. Although not all are orphans, many are vulnerable or originate in vulnerable families that "hoped to increase their children's opportunities by sending them to orphanages." Since the January 2010 earthquake, the number of orphans has sky-rocketed, and the living conditions for orphans have seriously deteriorated.

Sarah Brown helps in the pharmacy making anti fungal cream and then later bottling them.

Kids and Babies were brought to the clinic some with serious infections and others just needed routine checkups.

This woman keeps the church and gathering areas clean at HaitiARISE. Every morning at the same time, she would come out and clean every leaf, stick and piece of garbage from the ground.

HaitiARISE has a number of gardening and agriculture courses to teach the local Haitians how to grow their own food. Both these gardens are located on the HaitiARISE property.

On our off day to Jacmel we got a chance to take in some local Haitian cuisine prepared by one of the resorts in the area (Hotel Cyvadier). The resort had a beach and local vendors to buy from. Unfortunately, the high tide and large amounts seaweed prevented us from taking in the beach.

Dr. Bob Culter, Dr. Ken Brown, Simonne Haney and I went on a local tour of the area to learn more about Jacmels history and architecture. Our hired guide could speak English well and was very knowledgeable. The tour agency was "Experience Jacmel"

This young woman broke her forearm from a fall and had made her own splint using wood and a old bandage. Dr. Ken Brown helps undo the splint to investigate the damage. 


While on motorbike getting supplies for the Clinic I saw this older lady struggling to move through the street. Her walker would get caught on every little rock and her feet would slide inside her over sized shoes. At one point her shoe fell off but she quickly put it back on.

Students of HaitiARISE ministries work together and build a tile floor. This is where they learn trades such as metal and wood working, automotive, technical and other skills.

Thanks to some Cranbrook residents, work boots were donated to the tech school. These students pose in front of the school and show off some of the new boots.

Two goats were donated to HaitiARISE goat farm. The recently completed goat farm provides a local source of food that is locally owned and maintained by the people.

Off days were spent on the local beach where Haitian vendors would try to make a quick sale. The water was warm and refreshing after a long few days of work.

Tuesday November 30th was a particularly hard day for everyone working in the clinic. A mother brought her infant child to the clinic that was clearly in distress. Dr. Cutler and Dr. Brown were quick to diagnose the baby with chronic seizures. The mother indicated the child was seizing for two months before bringing her to the clinic. She said she had run out of medicine and couldn't afford any more to help her child. The clinic was able to secure a full bottle of medicine which will last the child a at least a year.

Nurse Cara Roulston examines patient complaining of pain in her chest.

Britt Hogue helps a blind lady with her walker who was having trouble with one of the wheels. Once the wheels were fixed, Britt showed the lady how to use the walker. Many elderly people go without the proper care and very rarely do they ever get the opportunity to own their own. The clinic managed to find one that was donated. She was very happy and kept holding Britt in her arms saying "Thank you, Thank You"

Cara Roulston prepares a syringe before giving an injection.

Supplies are gathered and prepared for sterilization before being packed for use again later.

The role of agriculture in the economy has declined severely since the 1950s, when the sector employed 80 percent of the labor force, represented 50 percent of GDP, and contributed 90 percent of exports. Many factors have contributed to this decline. Some of the major ones included the continuing fragmentation of landholdings, low levels of agricultural technology, migration out of rural areas, insecure land tenure, a lack of capital investment, high commodity taxes, the low productivity of undernourished animals, plant diseases, and inadequate infrastructure. 

A tied up goat lays out front of a local residence.

Third world countries such as Haiti are struggling to feed the human population there, and do not have the resources to dedicate to the pet population. The animals that are treated the best in third world countries are those that can help the family in tangible ways such as cows and goats that can provide milk and meat. In a country such as Haiti dogs and cats are left to fend for themselves with the occasional scrap thrown their way.

Along the garbage ridden shore we came across an old shrine from years past. It's a mystery who the shrine was built for or why the bottles of alcoholic beverages still unopened remain. Whatever the reason, the locals have kept the site clean and undamaged.

Some locals steal city power because they can not afford to have the city power run to their house. The dangerous work of stealing power has caused many deaths in Haiti.