1 minute readDisaster, International

Haiti Update: Building a Better Future for the Disabled

This post is written by Julie Sell, a Red Cross worker in Haiti. Julie talks about a new rehabilitation center that is part of the American Red Cross’ efforts in Haiti.

Tucked into a lush green hillside in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the site of the future Healing Hands for Haiti rehabilitation center is easy to miss from the street. Located in the Bourdon neighborhood, the four-acre site is full of big trees and flowering bushes. The beautiful setting is a soothing space in a city that was largely devastated in the 7.0 earthquake of January 2010.

In the past two weeks, crews have cleared the site and engineering teams have begun laying the crossbeams for what will be a new outpatient center. The center, designed to replace a building that was destroyed in the earthquake, is being funded by more than $1.3 million from the American Red Cross Haiti Assistance Program, with engineering oversight from the International Committee for the Red Cross Special Fund for the Disabled.

When it opens in early 2012, the outpatient building will contain a prosthetics department that can produce about 200 prostheses a year and a physical therapy center expected to treat between 1,000 and 2,000 patients a year. Patients will include not only amputees, but also spinal chord and stroke victims, people with orthopedic injuries, and children with birth defects. The current Healing Hands for Haiti staff – doctors, physical therapy specialists, rehabilitation nurses, the prosthetics and orthotics staff, as well as a social worker and a spinal chord expert – will transfer to the new location.

Future plans for the HHH campus in Bourdon include an in-patient facility, a pharmacy, a warehouse and patient housing. More than 800,000 Haitians currently live with disabilities.