Unrest in Haiti Causes MSM to Cancel Student Medical Mission
A planned Morehouse School of Medicine student medical mission trip to Haiti, an annual event for a decade, has been canceled due to civil unrest as protesters took to the streets of the island nation following recent fuel price hikes ordered by the government. The situation has already left several U.S. missionary groups stranded, according to the U.S. State Department and reports from CNN.
Since 2008, Morehouse School of Medicine students and faculty, in collaboration with Project Medishare, have visited one of the most impoverished areas in Haiti, the Central Plateau region of Thomonde. A group of 20 students, accompanied by MSM physicians, was set to embark on a weeklong visit from July 29 through Aug. 4. They were expected to treat more than 900 patients there, many of whom have never been seen by a doctor before.
“It’s most unfortunate that the recent events in Haiti have forced us to cancel this traditional humanitarian and educational trip,” said Dr. Martha Elks, MSM senior associate dean of educational affairs. “The real disappointment comes in not being able to serve the Haitian people who so desperately need assistance. However, we must put the safety of our students and faculty first.”
No decision has been made regarding possible rescheduling of the trip, where students provide services in obstetrics and gynecology, adult medicine, pediatrics and optometry. Over the years, the program has provided pediatric care to more than 1,000 children with problems ranging from malaria to scabies. MSM teams have provided vision screenings and distributed more than 100 prescription glasses. The MSM Global Health teams also have played key roles in various areas such as managing triage, accompanying Project Medishare workers on home health visits and participating in education presentations on issues such as tropical skin infections and water treatment.