Penn Primary Care Nurse Practitioners Put Their Training into Practice
This past November, Penn Nursing alumni Deborah Marrington, GNu’01, Sarah Aloise, GNu’98, and Eileen Campbell, GNu’98, and their colleagues traveled to Haiti to provide medical care to a remote mountain region where such care is hard to find. As members of the community health program CI Haiti, they performed annual physicals, refilled hypertension medication, and provided dental care. But CI Haiti isn’t content with just providing health care; they want to partner with communities and empower them to manage their own health. By providing home medical kits, medical training, and resources for higher medical care, they established a Community Health Program with community volunteers who take on the role of village health care worker. Founder Deborah Marrington shares the highlights of their trip.
Primary Care Health Program
“As part of our Primary Care Health Program, we perform annual physicals on 800 school children yearly. We have a full-time school health coordinator who treats children with medication in our absence and under our guidance.”
“In 2017 we proudly started our Nutrition Program. As primary care providers, we know good food is medicine! Bread fruit trees are native to Haiti. They produce a highly nutritious fruit that can be made into flour and porridge.We have planted 85 trees in the village. Substituting their lunch of low nutrient white rice with bread fruit porridge has really improved the health of the children. In addition, we’re building drying sheds so families can make bread fruit into flour for cooking. We’ve been holding cooking classes to teach women how to make bread fruit banana bread. Women are now selling it at the market and feeding their families.”
“We treat the children’s teeth twice yearly with Silver Diamine Fluoride. This amazing product halts tooth decay and stops tooth pain. It’s great for an underserved area as all the children in the community have significant tooth decay.”
“Penn Instructor Deb Cross oversees our Community-Based Hypertension Program. We currently have over 200 patients on hypertension medication. Madame Wilna, our community hypertension program coordinator, performs hypertension screening weekly in the village. She follows a treatment algorithm and dispenses medication under our protocols. She will consult our team about who are falling outside the algorithm.”
For more information on CI Haiti, visit www.cihaiti.com.