Episcopal Medical Missions Foundation

Making A Difference
 

Hopital Ste. Croix - Leogane, Haiti
History

Hopital Sainte Croix of Leogane, Haiti , a 120 bed general hospital, is the base of operations for the regional health care program serving the Commune of Leogane in the Department de l'Quest, Republique d'Haiti. The hospital is owned by the Episcopal Church of Haiti (EEH, Eglise Episcopale d'Haiti.), and is operated in partnership with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The Reverend Pierre Thevenot, who was parish priest at Leogane for twenty-two years and who had started the Sainte Croix complex, began the medical program in about 1968. Mrs. Edith Cutler, who was a patron of many significant EEH programs, donated a small dispensary on the site to be operated by the Episcopal Church. The Facility included space for two ward, but did not operate inpatient beds at that time. Dr. Etienne was the Haitian physician-director of the program.

In 1973-74, construction was started on an expanded facility and the EEH entered into a partnership agreement with the Presbyterian Church US (PCUS) Division of International Mission headquartered in Atlanta. At the invitation of the Bishop, Dr. Rion Dixon, a South Carolina physician trained in Mexico, became the first appointed missionary medical director. Facilities during that administration included the new hospital building (expanding the original dispensary facility), the first floor of the present Guest House, and the Medical Director's Residence.

The program continued briefly under the direction of Pere Thevenot after the departure of Dr. Dixon in April 1975. However, Pere Thevenot died in July 1975, leaving David McNeeley (who was a medical student on temporary assignment) as acting administrator for a month until appointment of interim missionary director, Mr. Rhine Fecho.

Subsequent interim directors were missionary nurse Dorothy Liston Descieux and pediatrician Dr. Jean Andre. The building now serving as the Missionary Residence was built during that period.

In 1978, Dr. Salvador Garcia de la Torre of Mexico was appointed as missionary Medical Director. His wife Irma, Margaret Nicholson, and Dorothy Descieux had all been missionary nurses since the beginning of the partnership period. Julia Mauldin served as missionary secretary as supervised visitor services during the latter part of that period.

In 1981, "Dr. Salvador" left to continue specialty training, and Rev. Day Carper, a previously retired missionary to Zaire assumed duties as interim administrator, Dr. Alix Serant was Interim Medical Director, and Mrs. Florence Serant was Director of Nurses. Construction on the expanded hospital had begun, and missionaries Dave and Floy Altenbernd had been assigned to supervise construction. A second floor added to the Guest House became the new Visitor Quarters, and the first floor served as a missionary residence.

Later that year, missionary Harvey Musser arrived after a year of language study to assume responsibilities as hospital administrator. The new hospital wing was dedicated in September, 1981. Dr. David McNeeley, now a pediatrician with the Master in Public Health and Tropical Medicine degree, arrived as new Medical Director on August 1, 1982. May 1983 saw the departure of the Mussers.

The years 1983-1984 saw expansion of six nearby rural rally posts (mobile clinics) into a regional health program serving remote mountain villages as will as sites in the nearby coastal plain. Construction was begun in November 1984 on a new training facility at Darbonne for the regional health program. It was dedicated in May 1986. Major funding support for that construction came from UNICEF and USAID through the Medical Benevolence Foundation.

In January 1985, the Ministry of Health designated the hospital as the official health authority for the Leogane commune. Thus, the Medical Director is also the Director of the Sanitary Sub-District of Leogane. The government building one block away was placed at the hospital's disposal for use as the center for the maternal and child health program.

In 1987 the remaining corner lot was acquired by EEH for the hospital. Ground was broken for the new multi-story wing in 1989, and the hospital's first direct telephone link was installed. The building was dedicated in 1991.

In 1992, Dr. David McNeeley resigned at Medical Director to assume the directorship of the Episcopal Institution, Ste. Vincent's School and Clinic for Handicapped Children. Missionary Dr. Richard Brown became the interim medical director and his wife, Dr. Judith Brown became administrator of the Community Medical Center at Darbonne.

In 1995, the Bishop appointed the first Haitian medical director, Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant which made the entire staff of the hospital Haitian. At the present time, missionaries Tom and NorEtta Clayton are consultant to Hopital Ste. Croix in financial management, administration, pharmacy and procurement and are co-coordinators of the Volunteer Visitor's Program.

Since 1974, the hospital has been operated in partnership with the Presbyterian Church, initially with the Presbyterian Church US (the southern branch) and since 1983 with the reunited Presbyterian Church (USA). The Associate Director for Health Ministries under the WorldWide Ministries Division of PCUSA has oversight of all medical mission partnerships, channeling of Extra Commitment Funding and other funding, liaisons with the Medical Benevolence Foundation and participates in the appointment of mission personnel to the field.

The Area Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean of the WorldWide Ministries Division related directly to the Bishop of Haiti for oversight of the partnership. The chief executive office (Medical Director) of Hopital Sainte Croix reports directly to the Bishop of Haiti.

Links

Episcopal Medical Missions Foundation: Making a Difference in Haiti

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