May 14th 2022 from 2 to 6 PM, the planning committee of the AMHE-GRAHN Ambulatory Health Center held an online forum that had an audience of around 150 people that remained for the duration in great majority to listen to the various presentations on the genesis, the concept, the establishment of the center and its approach to health care delivery. Each member of the committee that includes different specialties, IM, ophthalmology, psychiatry, ID, Ob-Gyn, Hematology, as well as RNs, described a segment of the project. Yours truly as the coordinator of the steering committee went first after the words of welcome from Drs. Lindor and Castor, also members of the committee.

This entity is a fruit of labor for the past 6 years. It began with a concept of solidifying the infrastructure of the nascent City of Knowledge in a rural setting bereft of any that heretofore served as cow pasture. The ambitious conceit of the City of Knowledge patterned after the model of a college town in North America at the minimum but eventually seeking the status of a hub à la Silicon Valley mirrors the accomplishment of no less than the construction of arguably the 8th wonder of the world in nearby Milot. The steering committee met regularly to plan meticulously every facet of the project despite all evidence of the hardship at hand and numerous failures at garnering financial support from other philanthropic institutions or our own colleagues. Unfortunately, skepticism about the viability of such audacious endeavor remains prevalent. Nonetheless our efforts were undeterred and little by little as we started the construction, the previous doubts began to disappear albeit timidly at first but steadily. Hence not only were we able to count on our own financial contributions but some worthy partners joined the cause, allowing us to gather some steam, but still at a limited pace that we still are trying to accelerate.

During the forum, nurses and physicians described innovative approach of offering health care in a culturally sensitive spirit, with a mindset of openness and critical thinking. In real terms, it entails the mix of modern tools such as telemedicine and electronic medical records for greater efficiency and the forever pursuit of good quality care at an affordable cost and at the same time the study of traditional remedies for any scientific validation in a bias-free evaluation. At first glance such goals could be considered mutually exclusive, accustomed we have become of equating modern instruments with burdensome cost and the disdain we have grown to retain for unorthodox treatments. Whenever possible a less expensive solution will be sought while maintaining good quality of care. Eventually studies about nontraditional methods of healing will be undertaken. Need we be reminded that our great Toussaint was a master healer using plant-based remedies.

The menu offered was bookended by a cornucopia of mental health, mother-child care, as primary care and more specialized services such as screening for sickle cell, cervical cancer, eye care, and the establishment of an HMO-like health plan to help patients gain access to a modicum of decent care. The standard to be upheld will be high and the goal of sustainability will be an ironclad principle. In presentations after presentations, it became obvious that the accent will always be on prevention rather than the fee-for-service incentives method. Prevention of complications ought to become buzz words to describe an innovative mindset where being proactive supersedes reactive, holistic assessment trumps tunnel vision in a new paradigm.

Then professor Samuel Pierre, PhD,  president of GRAHN-monde demonstrated the architectural sleek design, offered pro bono by a firm from Canada, a Haitian husband-wife team,  the actual construction photos. In case there was any doubt, the same care that went into fashioning the care to be received went into the elegant design also, in a mixture of utilitarian and convenience or better phrased as making useful feel pleasant.

In a question and answer session, several participants expressed their satisfaction for a well-crafted construct, a socially impactful undertaking, raising hopes for a better tomorrow and serving as an example for ripple effect that should mushroom elsewhere for the benefit of our society back home.

Reynald Altéma, MD.


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