To honor the promise he made in the Miami Herald article from 2011, Dr. Kansky DeLisma returned to Haiti on January 12 2012 accompanied by four other DISH members. A few weeks ago, I caught up with Dr. DeLisma, founder of the organization, for a short interview.
A.B : What was the purpose of this trip on January 12, 2012 ?
K.D : By going to Haiti, we had 3 steps to accomplish : first, see by ourselves what the situation was in Haiti and determine the real needs of the Haitian people. Our second objective was to establish partnerships with governmental entities. Our third goal was to identify and find a site for the construction of a medical campus.
A.B : In a few words, how would you describe the situation there ?
K.D: What was shocking when we arrived was to see that after 2 years little had been done to rebuild Haiti. We saw a country still under a clear emergency situation. Destruction is still overwhelmingly visible, “tent cities” (refugee camps) can be seen everywhere, massive amounts of homeless people are wandering in the streets, kids are playing in the wreckage, garbage, and the rubble. It’s as if the earthquake had just happened a few weeks ago. Sanitation levels are extremely low and medical infrastructures remain very scarce.
A.B : How can DISH help the Haitian population ? K.D : As physicians, we can have a direct impact on the health care system there. Our first goal is to establish a medical center just outside Port-au-Prince, where populations have little to no access to hostpitals. But we must act now.
A.B : Who did you meet there and how can they help you with your project ?
K.D : We first met with the chief of staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ady Jean Gardy, and continued with another very productive meeting with the Minister of Health, Dr. Florence Duperval-Guillaume. These meetings resulted in the creation of official partnerships between DISH and these 2 Haitian governmental entities. The partnerships will help the organization move forward with better consideration of Haitian governmental priorities. It will also facilitate DISH administrative activities in Haiti.
DISH has also established important social liaisons with many Haitian citizens. Some of them are leaders in the community, working on important development projects, such as Arnoux Descardes of Volontariat pour le dévelopement d’Haiti (VDH), Franky Ciceron from Christian Relief Organization, and DISH board member father Blot. They are all DISH representatives in Haiti.
A.B : Where will you build the medical center ?
K.D: After visiting a series of potential locations I am glad to announce we’ve selected roughly 3 acres of land about 10 miles North of the capital city. The site overlooks the ocean and is close to basic infrastructures.
A.B : When do you expect to break ground ?
K.D : Hopefully before the end of this year. The sooner the better because the needs in basic healthcare are so urgent in Haiti.
A.B : Are you satisfied with the outcome of this trip ?
K.D : Yes ! This trip was a very productive and successful experience. We have reached our goals beyond our expectations.
A.B : When will you be going back to Haiti ?
D.K : Given the urgent needs of the Haitian people, we are planning to go back in 2 to 3 months to finalize our land acquisition process but also to start delivering results by leading a medical mission, visiting hospitals,bringing medical supplies with us, and treating patients.
A.B : Will you organize another fundraiser this year ?
K.D : Yes. We are planning a series of fundarising events this year. The acclaimed Haitian singer, Emeline Michel, is also invited as a guest artist for a fundraiser concert in Miami, she’s committed to helping DISH succeed in Haiti.
A.B : In your opinion, what is the key element for DISH to succeed in this project ?
K.D : Collaboration. We have the ambition, we have the expertise, but we cannot succeed without people’s support. Any contribution will help, financial, time, expertise, or supplies, we need any and all of the above. People are suffering as we speak, we must take action immediately.
Trip’s photo album:
[dmalbum path=”/wp-content/uploads/dm-albums/Return to Haiti – January 2012/”/]
Please subscribe to our blog feeds to stay tuned, and help us spread the word by sharing these stories on your social media pages. The DISH team
Share and Enjoy