In Haiti, some earthquake survivors are finding it difficult to access the services they need. Mobile units allow critical services to come to them.
Humanity & Inclusion's partner, Fondation Tout Ensemble (FONTEN), is a Haitian organization that manages a rehabilitation center in Les Cayes. After the August 2021 earthquake, the organization launched a project of mobile rehabilitation units supported by Humanity & Inclusion.
Over a period of six months, a rotation of 60 mobile units covered southern Haiti, reaching remote and rural communities, where patients often find it difficult to travel to health facilities for follow-up care because of transportation costs or poor road conditions. Teams provide rehabilitation care to earthquake survivors and map out the remaining needs in the region.
"In some of the more rural communities, we met with survivors who had still not seen a doctor and were still living with untreated fractures months after the earthquake," explains Consuelo Alzamora, occupational therapist and founder of FONTEN. She's pictured below with Dieujuste, 26, whose leg was amputated after injuries he sustained during the earthquake.
Through the mobile units, the organizations are able to assess the general situation and collect relevant information for emergency response actions, such as the number of people affected by the earthquake, the number of people with disabilities, and measure the overall needs of the communities. Health education sessions are routinely provided during the mobile unit rotation to support patients’ health at home.
This kind of in-community support can make a real difference, for earthquake survivors and people with other unmet rehabilitation needs.
"One day we had a woman come in who hadn't been able to walk for a year because she didn't have an assistive device,” Alzamora explains. “The only thing she was missing was a walker, and we provided it for her. With this walker, she will finally be able to walk again little by little. Thanks to the mobile units, we can really change the quality of a person's life, and that means a lot to me.”
With Humanity & Inclusion’s support of the mobile units, there are plans to expand the project.
"This is the second time we have worked with Humanity & Inclusion, and we feel very supported,” Alzamora says. "They listen to our needs and propose solutions. The organization helps us to strengthen our capacities, thanks to trainings and logistics support in particular. This is the best way to collaborate, as the skills we have acquired will remain in Haiti and can be used to serve the communities, even beyond the emergency response.”