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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2007 Projects

December 31, 2007

Dear Friends:

Happy New Year and welcome to your December 2007 report for The $10 Club! Thank you for all you’ve done to make these past twelve months so successful, saving countless lives across the globe. Together we’ve undertaken twelve new projects in twelve different countries from Argentina to Zambia, and have given away more money than in any previous year. But, as you know, there is still so much work to be done…

Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) has worked for 50 years to assist the 300,000 people of the Artibonite Valley in Haiti. In addition to the hospital, they maintain seven health centers throughout this 610 square mile area in central Haiti. The health centers, spread through rural and mountain areas, provide care for the people where they live, thus eliminating the need for desperately sick and injured patients to travel long distances to a centrally-located hospital.

In the coming year, HAS has committed to expanding the services provided at its health centers by renovating them to support additional services such as minor surgeries and uncomplicated births. There are serious logistical difficulties to achieving these important goals because the centers are in such remote locations.

The Bastien Health Center is a good example. It is located approximately 20 miles from the main hospital, but it takes an hour and a half to travel there by 4-wheel drive vehicle. HAS staff uses all-terrain vehicles when traveling to the health centers. The roads—washed out gullies—leading to the health centers can be extremely treacherous. Vehicles have difficulty traveling in the muddy ruts which contain boulders. Due to the isolated location, if a vehicle becomes damaged on the rough roads it can be out of commission for an extended period waiting for repair parts to be delivered. This delay directly affects patient care because of the interrupted delivery of medicines, vaccines, and other medical supplies.

The inaccessible roads also limit HAS’s ability to set up mobile clinics at the health centers. In order to host an Ophthalmology clinic, for example, sensitive equipment would need to be delivered to the remote area. The harsh driving conditions with rough roads and deep mud make it impossible to transport the needed equipment. This month, 383 of us joined together to donate $3,830 to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer to repair the roads to the health centers. With our grant, HAS can hire teams to repair and maintain the most damaged sections of road. The teams will break up boulders and add river rock to fill the gullies, making for a more passable road. They will improve the worst 1.5 kilometers of the Tienne-Gabriel road. We will pay for the hiring of masons and give them the tools they need to accomplish the task at hand. This month we will allow for safer transport of patients and equipment, thus maintaining the hospital’s important connection with its rural neighbors. Thank you.

Maintaining roads in Haiti is especially difficult because of the frequent heavy rains and tropical storms. According to the UN Human Development Index, “In Haiti, a cycle of poverty and environmental destruction has denuded hillsides of trees and left millions of people in vulnerable slums. Governance problems, low levels of finance and a limited disaster response capacity left public agencies unable to initiate rescue and recovery operations on the scale required.”

Haiti is the poorest country in the region and has its worst HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. There are other serious problems in health care provision as well. Only half of the country’s one-year olds are fully immunized against measles and three-quarters of births are not attended by skilled health personnel.

According to Population Services International, diarrhea is the leading cause of death among children under one-year old and the second leading cause in children aged one to five. Water access and water quality are also problematic throughout the country.

Even the US State Department acknowledges the problems of medical treatment in the country: “Medical facilities in Haiti are scarce and for the most part sub-standard; outside the capital standards are even lower. Medical care in Port-au-Prince is limited, and the level of community sanitation is extremely low. Life-threatening emergencies often require evacuation by air ambulance at the patient's expense. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.”

I have long wanted to find a suitable project in Haiti and am glad to have this opportunity to partner with Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. We’ve done projects before to equip hospitals in need; but imagine not even being able to get to a hospital in the first place! Thanks to you, this won’t be a problem very much longer for thousands of impoverished Haitians. Well done.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

PS. Help me hit the ground running in ’08 and get those January contributions in right away—especially those of you who are kind enough to pre-pay for the year in advance! Also, can you believe it, we’re turning five! We’ve done 60 projects in the five years since we started in January 2003. What amazing things can we do in the next five? It’s up to you!

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org