The mission of Pou Sante Amar Haiti is to improve animal health and productivity, and thereby positively affect human and environmental health. Through education and medical treatment we hope to create the opportunity for sustainable development in Haiti. Many rural communities lack access to veterinary personnel and resources, and the lack of an efficient method to disseminate information and provide training further compounds this situation. We are a team students and veterinarians from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania working to address these issues. We come from a variety of backgrounds, but we share a passion for cultural exchange and using our knowledge, tools, and training to help others.
Our most recent trip to Quartier Morin took place this past June. Over 10 days, we ran 21 low cost veterinary clinics for the community of northern Haiti and treated 1,373 animals. This included physical exams, vaccinations, parasite treatments, hoof trims, pregnancy checks, castrations, wound care, and more. One of our most exciting accomplishments this year was the ability to work with Haitian vet agents throughout the course of our trip - these students are completing a veterinary program that gives them the skills to provide many of these same veterinary services to the community; we hope that by introducing more of the community to the vet agents, they will be utilized by the community more frequently. We also visited the Université Notre Dame d'Haïti and were able to co-run one of our veterinary clinics with their agricultural students, many of whom are interested in food security and sustainable farming. They enjoyed learning about animal care with us and want to work together more to show the community how animal, human, and environmental health are so closely intertwined. We are currently working on establishing a year-round relationship with these students and connect them with the vet agents, so that in the next few years they will have the tools to run similar veterinary clinics themselves without the need for us to travel to Haiti.
Though we love visiting northern Haiti and the lasting impact the experience leaves on us, we recognize that the true goal of our project is to establish a model of sustainable veterinary care in Haiti that is 100% Haitian run. Ideally, our goal for the next 3-5 years is to give the Haitian vet agents and agricultural students the tools and infrastructure needed to run veterinary clinics and a veterinary pharmacy themselves. The biggest challenges to this are financial limitations, the need for more technical veterinary education, and the logistical challenge of providing a steady stream of supplies year round without having to rely on volunteers flying in periodically with checked bags. The ability to provide year round veterinary care to the community of northern Haiti is of pivotal importance not just for animal health, but for human and environmental health as well. Many Haitians rely on their animals as a source of income and/or food, so we strive to encourage the community to view animal care as an investment rather than an expense. Making strides in sustainable agricultural and year-round veterinary access will improve food security and hopefully economical development as well.