VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (ABP) — Although aid organizations are discouraging volunteers without disaster or medical expertise from descending on Haiti right now, American Baptist Churches USA says there is still an acute need for medical professionals in the earthquake-devastated country.
ABCUSA International Ministries sent out a call Jan . 27 for physicians and nurse practitioners to volunteer for one-week stints in Haiti throughout February.
The teams will be coordinated by ABC missionary Kristy Engel, a pediatric nurse practitioner based in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Volunteers will fly into the Dominican Republic on a Sunday and travel into neighboring Haiti — which shares the island of Hispaniola — on Monday and work all week on the thousands of still-untreated Haitians who were injured in the quake or its aftermath.
Hospitals and clinics in the impoverished nation have been overwhelmed since the Jan. 12 quake, with several having been destroyed themselves. Deaths are estimated as high as 300,000, and there are no reliable estimates for injuries.
“There is still a critical need for medical response in this area,” Engel said, according to the American Baptist News Service. “We are finding open fractures and wounds as well as many untreated injuries related to the earthquake. I have found most functioning hospitals unable to accept further patients due to lack of medical supplies and personnel to treat them.”
International relief agencies have said Haiti is in no condition to be overwhelmed by teams of unskilled volunteers from churches in the United States and elsewhere. But teams of medical professionals coordinated through reputable, organized aid groups with previous experience in the country are welcome help.
The American Baptist medical teams will work for a week in Haiti, then return to the Dominican Republic on the Saturday following their arrival. For more information, contact ABC International Ministries’ volunteer office.
Related ABP article:
Opinion: How do we best help Haiti recover? (1/26/2010)