The Addis Clinic connects physicians to frontline health workers, allowing for specialty care in the most remote and underserved areas.
Water is a resource that most of us take for granted. However, for many of the patients and clinicians The Addis Clinic supports, it is a luxury not easily obtained. This is one of many restrictions taken into account when The Addis Clinic coordinates case consultations between our global partners and physician volunteers.
The Addis Clinic partners with an organization, Living Hope Haiti, that serves the people of Northern Haiti through educational, medical, and spiritual services. This Haitian population faces extreme poverty and hunger alongside a lack of resources and education. The local health workers of Living Hope Haiti bring medical care to people in their homes and communities and must find creative ways to promote healing in such a challenging environment. One such way is to access The Addis Clinic and its large network of physician volunteers through our telemedicine platform.
This month a local health worker in Haiti encountered a 5-year-old girl with a worsening rash. She had been previously treated for a presumed skin infection with antifungal and antibiotic medication. All of the girl’s previously open wounds were healed, yet the number of thick dry patches had spread over her trunk, extremities, and even ears. The health worker took a number of pictures along with a detailed physical exam and health history and submitted the case to The Addis Clinic for assistance. The Addis Clinic allocated the case to a volunteer dermatologist who promptly responded with a diagnosis of psoriasis. Initial recommendations included use of an immunosuppressant along with topical steroid creams. However, after the dermatologist and field health worker exchanged messages about the lack of availability of many traditional medications and treatments, they agreed on an alternate plan.
The volunteer dermatologist recommended application of hydrocortisone cream twice daily to the affected area with wet dressings, vinegar soaks for the feet three times a week, as well as natural sunlight exposure to all affected areas for 20 minutes per day. The field health worker immediately implemented the plan. The patient’s neighborhood has no easy access to water, and the health worker knew the chances of the family’s ability to do the soaks were slim unless everything was provided to make it easier. The field health worker had to pre-mix enough vinegar solution in water bottles to last a number of weeks. She even improvised a soak basin using a zip lock bag – because it would simultaneously maximize coverage of the skin while conserving water.
Despite the immense and immediate challenges faced by this little girl, her family and the health workers in her community, The Addis Clinic provided access to a world-class dermatologist who will continue to be involved in her care as long as required. The health worker will follow-up with the patient in a few weeks, and we look forward to tracking her progress!