Here goes....with the serious stuff again!!
As most of you know I will be heading back to Haiti this coming spring/summer. This time I will again be working with a different doctor and I am very excited about it! There are many reasons why I am excited of course, one is that it has been almost a year since I was there, there are many people I am missing (Rose, Beth, John, Winnie,Olez and many others) I am excited to see the changes that have been made there and most of all I am looking forward to meeting Dr. Coffee and helping her and her staff in anyway!
Dr. Megan Coffee is an infectious disease doctor from the U.S. and she runs the organization I will be volunteering with which is called "Ti Kay". The translation of TI Kay is "little house". Tuberculosis is a disease that is spread through secretions expelled through cough and sneezes and in close quarters i.e. little houses, tents etc it is spread that much easier. TB is thought of as the "sickness of the little house" because of its highly infectious nature and transmission to people living in close quarters. TB has all but been eradicated from places like Canada and the US (except for isolated cases/areas) while Haiti (1.5 hour flight from Miami) has the highest mortality rate related to TB in the America's.
TB is very treatable but you need money for medications (most TB is treated with a cocktail of medications), money for food and money/equipment for treatment of side-effects (of the disease and treatment). The very scary thing about TB is that there are different strains and (in not wanting to get too technical here) if not treated properly,the strains mutate and become that much more difficult to treat.
For more information about TB in Haiti I suggest you check out the Ti Kay website, which I will give you the link too at the end of this post.
Dr. Megan Coffee has been treating TB and HIV/AIDS patients in Port Au Prince since just after the earthquake. She and her staff supplement the current program run by the state. Medications for both HIV and TB are supplied through programs like PEPFAR and PNLT (the national TB drug program)but Ti Kay must supply most other things to the patients including food, oxygen, vitamins (integral to the health of these patients),supplies like syringes and facility costs.
Megan is a twitter aficionado and often tweets stories about life in Haiti, patients stories and often her thoughts in just 143 characters. If you want to follow her you can find her at @doktecoffee. Recently, she tweeted about trying to find a way to make "funding food sexy". One of the side effects of disease and treatment in both TB and HIV is anorexia. In a country where citizens already struggle with the reality of malnutrition the addition of either of these diseases (and often people suffer from both at the same time) can be devastating. When Megan tweeted about making food sexy I tweeted back and asked her to give me numbers about how much it costs Ti Kay to feed and provide much needed vitamins for the inpatient unit of the program. She wrote me back and outlined costs... basically it boils down to $1600 a month for food, chef, vitamins and transport of food to the hospital from the warehouse.Lets break that down a bit further....
$1600/month = $53.00 a day to feed and provide vitamins for 30 people.
$53.00 = 10 lattes.. and not even the "special ones"!
$53.00 = 1/2 of the pair of jeans I bought 2 weeks ago
$53.00 = 4 movie tickets (with $5 to spare to buy a...??? drink)
$53.00 = less then 1/2 of most people cable bill each month
I know that many of you have asked me to let you know what you can contribute to my trip. This is how you can help me.. you can help me bring sexy back to food for the inpatients at Ti Kay. But more importantly you can help people in a way that is so important to their healing. Lets show Megan that helping people get better (and they truly do get better) through food and medication and vitamins IS sexy.. and awesome all at the same time!
My hope is this...
100 people @ $15.00/month = food security and healing for 30 people a month
That equals $180/person for the year...
If you wish to help bring sexy back...contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-278-7186
Thanks in advance for all the support you have all shown me over the past 2 years!