PORT AU PRINCE, November 18, 2010 – For 23-year-old Oscar, an optimistic man with an easy smile, dreams of being a professional soccer player or a high-tech mogul all but vanished after losing his right leg during Haiti’s destructive earthquake. Today, Oscar and other earthquake victims have found hope at a newly dedicated rehabilitation clinic and prosthetic workshop developed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee together with Israel’s Magen David Adom and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital as well as the Haitian Red Cross and the HUEH (Hopital De L’Universite D’Etat D’Haiti). The modernized facilities are the first of their kind in Haiti.
To date, hundreds of Haitian patients have already been treated and more than 70 prosthetics – which require long hours for fitting and manufacture – have been fitted. The newly renovated rehab clinic, which is based in the University Hospital’s pre-existing rehabilitation center, is staffed by rotating teams of Israeli orthopedic doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and prosthesis experts who work and train local Haitian physical therapists and a doctor being trained as the center’s director. The prosthetic workshop, donated by German NGO LandsAid, is used by amputees who have their prosthetics produced on site.
Yesterday’s dedication ceremony included guests from local Haitian, Israeli and international, high profile NGOs. In addition, Ambassadors, Health Ministry officials, and other top dignitaries from Haiti, Israel, and the United States were also present.