DLSPH MPH Student Assists with Health Work-​Force Survey in Haiti with Canadian Medical NGO

July 18/2018

By: Mary Rideout, Dr. Andrew Furey and Nicholas Moroz (MPH candidate, 2019)

DLSPH MPH Student Nicholas Moroz (third from the right) visiting a multi-NGO supported Hospital in Porte au Prince, Haiti, in May 2018, with Team Broken Earth surgeons and nurses.

Nicholas Moroz, a DLSPH MPH Health Promotion student, spent a week this Summer supporting a Canadian medical relief initiative called Team Broken Earth (TBE) in Porte au Prince, Haiti. TBE is a Canadian orthopedic surgical NGO which has been visiting Haiti since the 2010 earthquake and has done over 50 medical missions.

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there were huge needs for orthopedic surgery. The epidemiology of earthquake disasters is such that orthopedic injuries are especially high. Crush injuries, open and closed fractures, spine fractures, and severely damaged limbs require urgent surgery as well as longer-term rehabilitation care, including cleaning injuries or providing proper surgical closure for amputees.

Surgical care and resources are not only needed due to structural damages that occur initially, but also for the considerable longer-term rehabilitation surgery required in the days and months following traumatic injury. TBE has continued to help service the huge back-log of orthopedic problems in Haiti and has also expanded into a surgical education role for Haitian surgeons.

A Canadian team of pediatric orthopedic surgeons was invited to join TBE in May 2018 for their annual Orthopedic Trauma Symposium, where Haitian surgeons receive hands-on surgical skills training. The pediatric team invited Nicholas to help with a surgical workforce needs-assessment survey looking at specific pediatric surgical skills and needs in Haiti.

TBE felt it was time to review the pediatric orthopedic needs, such as fracture care, clubfeet, and other congenital anomalies since 40% of Haiti is under the age of 16 years. Also, children’s needs for surgical expertise is different than for adults. Based on the needs assessment survey, the pediatric orthopedic team can tailor their educational platform to serve the exact needs of the end-users in Haiti.

“I had the opportunity to assist with a health provider needs assessment in a compelling environment, and as an MPH student, I was excited to do some basic public health fieldwork. I like seeing how important public health tools and surveys can help surgeons teach surgeons,” said Nicholas, was also able to tour some of the NGO hospitals where TBE works in Porte au Prince.