A Black woman with her hair pulled back smiles. She is wearing a bright pink scrubs top. In the background walkers lean against a wall

HI-trained rehabilitation technician responds to those injured in earthquake

After the 2010 earthquake introduced her to the field, Humanity & Inclusion rehabilitation graduate Guetchly-Nise now finds herself treating those affected by the most recent disaster.

This week, Humanity & Inclusion teams in Haiti are training physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists in emergency rehabilitation to reinforce overwhelmed medical centers in Les Cayes. On Wednesday, one of the new recruits, Guetchly-Nise, started her first day responding to those who were injured in the earthquake. 

The Port-au-Prince native and mother of two spent four years as a nurse before the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti. It was in the aftermath of that disaster that Guetchly-Nise decided to change career paths and become a rehabilitation technician.

“Before 2010, physical therapy was not very present in Haiti,” she explains. “Still, there are very few specialists. I saw that there was a lot of need around me and I was immediately interested the field. I initially did a two-year training with HI that was funded by USAID to become a rehabilitation technician, and since then I have attended several HI trainings, including this one.”

Deliver emergency aid to Haiti

Following her initial training with HI, Guetchly-Nise went on to work with various hospitals and CERPA (an amputation rehabilitation center), where she specialized in phantom pain. Along with her colleagues and Humanity & Inclusion rehabilitation experts, Guetchly-Nise spent Wednesday afternoon navigating the emergency block of the general hospital in Les Cayes. Each room was overflowing with people in need of urgent care.

“I’m seeing a lot of fractured arms and legs, and several amputations. I had heard there were a lot of patients here, but I’m still surprised at the number. Emergency rehabilitation is different from how I usually work. You have to make decisions very quickly, and prioritize. I’m used to thinking more long-term. It’s important to have both, though. If we only did emergency response with no follow-up, that would not be enough. But if we don’t have emergency care, then the consequences will be worse for later.” — Guetchly-Nise, rehabilitation technician in Haiti

Despite the difficulty of the work, Guetchly-Nise remains dedicated to her patients. Having experienced the disaster herself, she has been eager to assist those in need.   

“I’m really happy to be here to respond to the situation,” she says. “I was lucky enough to not have been affected as much as some, but I know what it’s like to be in an earthquake. I look at my patients and know it could have easily been me instead. I want to help and I have the training, so I feel that it’s my duty.”

Image: Guetchly-Nise, a rehabilitation technician trained by Humanity & Inclusion, stands outside a rehabilitation center in Les Cayes, Haiti. Copyright: Rawley Crews/HI

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