Field Notes From Haiti: Setting up a pop-up clinic

On our trip to Haiti, we had the opportunity to deliver medical assistance to the rural mountainside village of Port Margot – to bring the hospital to them - via a ‘pop up’ clinic.   For Port Margot, and many other ‘pop up’ clinic sites around the world, Project C.U.R.E.’s team of volunteers provides rare access to medical attention.  This is crucial, as the nearest hospitals are typically hours away, and transportation is often difficult to obtain. 

 The central focus is the people, and as administrators of the “pop up” clinic, our goal is to make them as comfortable as possible. Given the volume of patients waiting, movement control is the first essential consideration.  In Port Margot, we held our clinic at a local church.  The main chamber of the church was used as a waiting area, and a non-medical volunteer managed the flow of people (typically in smalls groups) down to our “pop up” clinic in the church’s basement.

In the basement, we set up three staging areas: the initial triage section staffed by nurses, the doctors “offices” and the pharmacy.

1.     The triage section was the initial point of contact for the patients.  The nurses took their vitals, and provided a general overview assessment of their health.  This allowed the doctors more time to spend on the specific ailment affecting the patient. 

2.     The doctors “offices” were the second stop, and gave the patients the opportunity to discuss their ailments in detail.  After reviewing symptoms and diagnosing the issues, the doctors would prescribe medications.

3.     The final station was the Pharmacy – staffed by a nurse and two non-medical volunteers.  The patients picked up their medications and were on their way!

For the local community, the opportunity to see trained medical professionals within walking distances of their homes cannot be overstated.  And in a country like Haiti, where the majority of people can only afford one meal per day, the cost savings of free healthcare enables families to spend more of their limited money on food, shelter and education for their children.  Smarter, healthier children lead to a brighter future for Haiti, and ‘pop up’ clinic sites around the world.

Posted on May 16, 2016 .