During this past week the Board of Directors gathered in Deschapelles for our semi-annual meeting. In order to better understand the current issues, many members arrived a few days early to allow time to visit with all of the senior directors, travel to the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) remote community health centers, review programs and see first-hand HAS in operation.
My first impression of the hospital is that we are very, very busy. All wards are operating at or near capacity. Many line the hallways waiting patiently for appointments with specialists and other outpatient procedures. A volunteer surgical group from Peachtree Orthopedics, visiting from Atlanta, works alongside our surgical team to serve patients recovering from accidents or needing surgical revisions from prior events.
Despite the pressure to meet the needs of so many, there is a calm, confident atmosphere that surrounds HAS. The institutional strength that has emerged from 50 plus years of operations in Haiti is unique. The capacity to absorb blows from terrible events such as the earthquake or cholera and yet have the flexibility to rapidly adapt and implement solutions is very rare.
On Friday April 29th the hospital staff gathered for the official opening of the renovated surgery/recovery facilities which were made possible with a USAID grant and many generous donations.
Another purpose of the gathering was to celebrate Chief of Surgery Dr. Chauvet Exe who has served for 28 years at HAS. His dedication, skill and commitment to surgical training are truly a reflection of the best ideals of our institution.
As the Board went about its work to review operations, consider new opportunities and plan for the future, I can say that we are extremely proud of past accomplishments by our dedicated team in the face of very difficult circumstances and are optimistic that HAS is well positioned to continue saving lives and serving the people of the Artibonite.