The Health eVillages Regis Outreach (HERO) initiative at Ste. Therese Hospital in Hinche, Haiti was created to help meet the critical need to improve health care delivery in this rural community. Last year, Health eVillages provided training and 27 new content-enabled tablets to outfit Ste. Therese’s entire full-time nursing staff. The nurses have embraced the power of education and technology and have reported back that the tablets are a critical piece of Ste. Therese’s on-site training’s, mentoring, knowledge growth and sharing. Each nurse treats their tablet as a personal mobile library and takes great pride in being able to research new information that helps patients with state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips.
While these tablets are an empowering tool, a regional district hospital in a resource-strapped community still has basic needs that must be met. Earlier this year during a meeting with our Regis partners, we learned that one of the challenges the nursing staff faced was a lack of availability to one of the most rudimentary medical devices – stethoscopes. Not having ready access to these instruments often impeded their ability to properly conduct simple procedures, such as taking a patient’s blood pressure. With so many of Ste. Therese’s patients suffering from chronic conditions, it begged the question: how does a healthcare provider properly treat a patient with asthma without listening to his or her lungs?
Health eVillages decided to provide 75 new stethoscopes so that each nurse at Ste. Therese would have access to their own dedicated instrument. This summer, our Regis College HERO Coordinator traveled to the hospital to conduct a semi-annual training for the nurses. She arrived with 60 adult and 15 pediatric stethoscopes and distributed them among the staff. The nurses were thrilled and immediately put them to good use.
Digital technology continues to grow, and though its positive effects cannot be understated, there is a humbling satisfaction in knowing that we are still able to help to play a part in providing even the most basic diagnostic needs. There could be no engine without the advent of the wheel – and while digital tablets can certainly help nurses with their educational development, they do not render the sound of a heartbeat. If these stethoscopes can help the nurses of Ste. Therese hear the hearts of their patients, then this is a great leap forward toward improving the health of their community.