When Roosler Billy Telcide completed medical school in Port-au-Prince, his hopes for finding a residency to prepare him for a career as a pediatrician were modest.
“I had a dream when I was a medical student to do my residency where I can find a scanner, an MRI, and all those things Partners In Health has,” said Telcide, 27, in reference to a Boston nonprofit whose state-of-the-art teaching hospital opened last year in the town of Mirebalais, north of Port-au-Prince.
Funded by private donors and grants, and using equipment donated from the Boston area, the $25-million, 300-bed University Hospital of Mirebalais (HUM) already handles some 800 outpatient visits a day, offers chemotherapy to cancer patients, delivers 200 to 300 babies per month and operates a 24-hour emergency ward. Its mission: provide free, first-rate health care to Haitians who could otherwise not afford it.
But the hospital is going even further by developing a robust medical residency program with the goal of raising the bar for medical care across Haiti. The first 14 pediatricians, surgeons and internal medicine specialists have already begun the program and the hospital intends to increase the number of residents each year and create additional residencies in other medical fields as well as nursing.
Growing up with a nurse for a mother, Telcide spent most of his childhood in hospitals in Haiti. They were nothing like the new hospital here in Mirebalais. He said he’s learning something that most Haitian doctors never do: how to form close relationships with their patients, a rarity in Haiti, where clinics and hospitals are understaffed and overcrowded.
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