International Child Care

International Child Care

January 11, 2011 16:11 ET

Markham-Based NGO Undaunted by Challenges Faced One Year After Haiti Earthquake

MARKHAM, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 11, 2011) - January 12 marks the one-year anniversary of the earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale, that struck Haiti killing more than 250,000 and displacing millions. International Child Care (ICC), a Markham-based International NGO (non- governmental organization) has provided health based development programs in Haiti for more than 40 years, They responded immediately to the disaster by raising emergency funds to address the needs at Grace Children's Hospital,(GCH), ICC's flagship medical facility in Haiti. With well-established programs and infrastructure in Haiti, ICC was able to respond directly and quickly to the disaster. The funds were used to sustain critical long-running health programs at the hospital (HIV and tuberculosis treatment, and an outpatient clinic), as well as to open a Relief and Reconstruction Office to provide an emergency response.

Within two weeks of the disaster, medical teams from Germany and Texas were operating from the undamaged surgical rooms at the Grace ophthalmic clinic. In spite of being traumatized by the tragedy, ICC-Haiti staff, continued to report for work and complete their duties. They received emotional and physical support, including counseling, from ICC-Haiti. The US military, in conjunction with World Vision, used the GCH campus as a food and water distribution point for the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, where GCH is located.

In the weeks after the earthquake, ICC Haiti offices became the headquarters for the National Tuberculosis Ministry, whose offices were destroyed. ICC's optical care staff began mobile eye clinics in the tent cities that fill the Delmas region, treating earthquake injuries and later, infections and injuries that occur in the camps.

The Relief and Reconstruction office has overseen the demolition of condemned buildings on the Grace campus and spear-headed a program that uses local workers in the demolition program. In addition to being paid a fair wage for their work, the new employees receive health and hygiene training, work clothing, and two meals per day. Plans are in process to construct new hospital facilities, and ICC is hopeful that ground-breaking will be in 2011.

Peter Montgomery, ICC Canada National Director, says, "In spite of the disaster, this is a new opportunity for Haiti and the work of ICC. Our hope is to see GCH rebuilt and providing a broader range of services to more children and families of Port au Prince than ever before as soon as possible." As the cholera outbreak began in Haiti, ICC Haiti immediately strategized a response and implemented public health procedures to protect current patients as well as to accept cholera cases, should the outbreak spread to the Delmas neighborhood.

Montgomery says, "As we've done for more than forty years, ICC will continue to respond to the challenges and tragedies faced by the people of Haiti, and work to achieve our goal of good health and wholeness for children and their families."

GCH, founded in 1967, is the flagship ministry of International Child Care and is recognized as Haiti's leading medical facility dedicated to the treatment of children with tuberculosis, Grace receives thousands of children annually who are suffering from TB and other childhood diseases. GCH also offers numerous outpatient services including pediatric and adult TB treatment, a state-of-the-art opthomological clinic, a reproductive health clinic and HIV/AIDS treatment services. 

For more information about the ICC Canada, as well as pictures and earthquake stories, visit the ICC website.

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