March 3, 2010

Making a difference for poorest of the poor


(Continued from page 1)

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Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser is in Haiti.

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Gordon Chibroski

Additional Photos Below

''She's doing amazing work reaching out to the traditional midwives,'' said Nickerson.

But it takes its toll.

In August, she wanted to leave Konbit Sante, Telemaque said. One of her patients couldn't scrape up the 10 goude she needed to catch a tap-tap cab to the clinic and died at home of birth complications. Ten goude is about 25 cents.

''She died, only for that,'' Telemaque said.

The endless struggle against unfathomable poverty -- one mother at a time, one TB patient at a time -- just wore her down. The other health professionals at Konbit Sante talked to her, helped her.

''They said 'We do something this little to do something big,''' she recalled.

Between 200 and 300 people come through the clinic daily, said Telemaque. The need is great, Nickerson said.

With a mountain of needs, how do the staff members at Konbit Sante feel that they're doing something that makes a difference?

''It's not about us feeling we're doing something. It's not about us. It's about, in the end, the impact,'' Nickerson said.

People are being found with tuberculosis and getting treatment. Women are having safer births. Babies are fat and happy and bouncing, even in the middle of a garbage dump, because of the work Konbit Sante continues to do.

''We never wanted to be medical tourists,'' said Nickerson. ''We want to be genuine partners with other human beings who are really struggling.''


Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer: Mamyvon Rosannie holds her four-month-old baby Jean-Yves outside her home in the Petite Anse neighborhood of Cap Haitien on Wednesday, January 20, 2010. Roasannie is taking a mothering class that is supported by Konbit Sante through a position they fund at the clinc Fort St. Michel.

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Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer: Dr. Youseline Telemaque walks on a narrow path behind two boys in the Petite Anse neighborhood of Cap Haitien on Wednesday, January 20, 2010. The neighborhood paths are covered in garbage, the shacks are built on top of it and the standing pools of water are contaminated with fecal bacteria.

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Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer: People wait to get in to the emergency room at the clinic Fort St. Michel on Wednesday, January 20, 2010. Konbit Sante helps support the clinic, which serves people from Cap Haitien's poorest neighborhoods.

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