Nikon Instruments Donates Microscopes to Assist With Haiti Relief Fund
November 6, 2010
Working in Conjunction with the CAP Foundation Haiti Relief Fund Task Force
“Our goal is to re-establish laboratory services in Haiti that are sustainable for the long-term,” said Matthew Zarka, MD, FCAP, Chair of the CAP Foundation Haiti Relief Fund Task Force, “Important steps have been taken to achieve this.”
Since the earthquake occurred in January, the Foundation has raised about $17,000 from 105 CAP members, concerned public, and industry partners.
Four members of our CAP Foundation Task Force have traveled to Haiti to meet with pathologist-colleagues and survey the laboratory situation first hand. Based on the visits of Drs. Rosemary Edwards, Robert Lorsbach, Greg Henderson, and Ray Aller, they know that lab services are quite limited, if available at all. The doctors connected with key contacts in anatomic and clinical pathology at the National Health Laboratory, Grace Children’s Hospital, St. Damien’s Hospital, and the University Hospital and Medical School. To further coordinate efforts, Dr. Henderson is in communication with the Family Health Ministries and Women’s Health Ministries. Task Force members are volunteering their time and covering their own travel expenses.
The task force found many labs destroyed entirely and a lot of equipment buried under rubble. Those labs surviving the earthquake have salvaged some equipment, but it sits idle in tents, with no electricity and limited staffing. Still other equipment sits broken and unusable in closets. The task force also discovered a strong need for proficiency testing (PT), especially at the Haiti National Public Health Laboratory.
To assist with the relief effort, Nikon Instruments, Inc., has donated 5 microscopes plus they are helping to secure biomedical engineering services to repair out-of-service scopes. For laboratories that are partially operational, the College of American Pathologists has donated PT kits for the HIV rapid test and reading of AFB smears by Ziehl-Nielsen. The Foundation is arranging the delivery of educational materials and training in laboratory management and assistance with reagents and instruments. Dr. Aller traveled to Haiti in late March to assess clinical informatics needs.
Dr. Zarka said next steps for the task force are to further identify what’s needed for the long-term, such as people with specific skill sets (i.e., to repair equipment and being multiple lingual in English, French, and Creole) with the goal to train Haitians to be able to continue the work and train others on their own. The task force plans to set up a sustainable model in one or two locations, such as Port-Au-Prince. “We are so grateful for your help and anything you do will be truly appreciated in our desperate situation,” wrote Jacques Boncy, MD, Director Laboratoire National de Sante Publique.
“There is so much to do in Haiti, but it begins with a few dedicated people like our task force and our donors’ commitment to help the Foundation fund this critical initiative, said Jennifer Hunt, MD, Med, interim CAP Foundation President. “The Haiti Relief funds will be used with the greatest leverage in this resource-poor country,” she continued, “the goal is long-term stability and independence for the Haitians. This is our commitment to those who need us in Haiti.”
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