The January 10, 2010 earthquake, which hit Haiti with it’s highest magnitude, leaving thousands dead and thousands suffering crippling injuries. The scene of devastating damage is every where in the vast land and it’s inhabitation affected to the extent that nothing remains.
The rescue operations and rehabilitation of the wounded and homeless humanity is taking place at fast pace even in spite of lacking infrastructure and scarcity of the resources available. To meet the challenge of the hour more than tens thousands of US Nurses has signed up as the volunteers, with Major International Rescue organizations active in their rescue operations in the country, calling for help of nurses and all other professional hands, who can be of help to treat the wounded.
The professional nurses by their basic nature have inclination and readiness to reach, where nursing help is needed, leaving aside their personal obligations. Travelers, who are coming back from Haiti, reveal the accounts of nursing activities taking place in the country affected by the earth quake vagaries. Still there is lot to be done considering the magnitude of damage leaving behind the affected population helpless, homeless and orphaned.
Even in spite of the need of Nurses and other professionals to treat the injured and do efforts for their rehabilitation, the reach there gets delayed by the bureaucratic machinery affected by the red tape tactics. The clearance of travel documents is not easy; the result is that the nurses, who have received confirmations to proceed, have to wait to receive local Haiti Government Agency’s clearance for the final go signal.
It is not possible to take the Rescue team and get started with the operations. Nursing Professionals, who decide to go there individually can face problems and create problems unless they become a part of major organizations, which are rooted there carrying on the relief operations in a coordinated manner.
There has been great response from numerous organizations, ranging from hospitals to nursing unions and other international organizations for providing Nursing Personnel. But because of hurdles of getting permission all shall not have the access to reach there to volunteer their services.
Haiti is a country with virtually no established infrastructure worth the name, whatever infrastructure it had, stands damaged by earth quake as revealed by a report from the US relief agency presently engaged in it’s operations in Haiti through state Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and International Medical-Surgical Response Teams, both the teams are having nurses assisting them.
To cater to the needs of the relief team, present supplies of essential goods is facing scarcity. The local airport and sea ports are damaged, and every now and then international relief workers are arriving to join the teams engaged in relief work. HHS is desirous of coordinating operations to ensure healthcare teams are deployed, where the need is most urgently felt to provide additional support to relief workers already at their work in Haiti.
It is unfortunate working with the federal government, there are instances the rule of the state come in the way of effective relief operations, which are to be followed.
HHS has the strength of 270 medical personnel in Haiti, and plans are there to deploy more. DMAT teams from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia and California are in already in Haiti. Handicapped with appropriate space some of them have created urgent health care center in a local play field, some are camping at the airport helping persons who are leaving the country, some have set up the facilities at the U.S. Embassy, and others are present helping local staff in various hospitals.
Majority of the nurses presently assisting government and non-government agencies possess the necessary basics experience and training related to disaster management practices for providing relief operations, as confirmed by the agencies involved in local operations. The Nursing personnel present in the relief teams are professionally very experienced and hence capable to manage and direct the relief operations.
The team members have the devotion towards their assignment and are prepared to carry on their assignment on all the 24 hours and seven days a week without a break. All their travel documents are ready and are having valid immunizations and their luggage is packed ready for departure on a go signal.
Similar teams of nursing professional are ready at Brigham ready to go on getting the go signal.
As the movement of relief work is gathering more and more nursing staff are opting to reach Haiti and be part of the relief work teams. The National Nurses United union 12000 members have signed up for going to Haiti in response to the call made by the Registered Nurse Response Network Relief Program. The will to help is there among the Nursing Profession, but the process through which one has to pass through before a final acceptance of the services is communicated is very tedious and frustrating some times. It is hoped that shortly every thing shall be sorted out. It is felt that there shall be long term need of the nurses and the organization is raising funds to support the stay of Nurses going on relief mission.
Caring for Other Roles:
Surprisingly the American Red Cross is not taking part in deploying nurse to work in Haiti Hospitals. The organization has decided to take up the role of first responders or interpreting services. The nurses are suggested to volunteer their services at local Red Cross organization for carrying on the work, which shall be of the sort of helping evacuees in some regions.
Because of the magnitude of earthquake, one should not put off plans for going to Haiti on the face of at present not getting permissions. The work at Haiti shall be a long term and there shall be increased need of health care nurses.
Besides health care there is need of help for manning phones set up, collecting information about persons who are desirous of donating medical supplies and their plane service for the transportation of personnel willing to come to Haiti.