For Immediate Release
For 23-year-old Oscar, an optimistic man with an easy smile, dreams of being a professional soccer player or a high-tech mogul all but vanished after losing his right leg during Haiti’s destructive earthquake. Today, Oscar and other earthquake victims have found hope at a newly dedicated rehabilitation clinic and prosthetic workshop developed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee together with Israel’s Magen David Adom and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital as well as the Haitian Red Cross and the HUEH (l’Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti). The modernized facilities are the first of their kind in Haiti.
“We’re proud that JDC, together with our local Haitian and Israeli medical partners, have been able to help ensure the recovery of Haiti’s thousands of amputees and others who desperately need these facilities,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager. “Our work will impact generations to come and serve as an example of international cooperation in this devastated country.”
To date, hundreds of Haitian patients have already been treated and more than 70 prosthetics—which require long hours for fitting and manufacture—have been fitted. The newly renovated rehab clinic, which is based in the University Hospital’s pre-existing rehabilitation center, is staffed by rotating teams of Israeli orthopedic doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and prosthesis experts who work and train local Haitian physical therapists and a doctor being trained as the center’s director. The prosthetic workshop, donated by German NGO LandsAid, is used by amputees who have their prosthetics produced on site.
“To understand the overwhelming progress being made by Haitian patients here, you only need to look at the happy faces and pride of those who are now walking independently. We are grateful to JDC, Magen David Adom, Sheba Medical Center, and LandsAid for helping rehabilitate lives here in Port Au Prince,” said Dr. Alix Lassegue, Director of HUEH (l’Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti).
Yesterday’s dedication ceremony included guests from local Haitian, Israeli and international, high profile NGOs. In addition, Ambassadors, Health Ministry officials, and other top dignitaries from Haiti, Israel, and the United States were also present.
“The Jewish and Israeli response to the plight of the Haitian people has been outstanding and we are heartened by the outpouring of critical support and aid at this time. We are fortunate to have JDC—a steadfast partner in times of great disaster—stewarding this project, which is restoring health to many Haitians,” said Dr. Alex Larsen, Haiti’s Minister of Public Health and Population.
JDC’s non-sectarian disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its activities in Haiti with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli relief agencies, and the United Nations, and local Haitian NGOs. JDC relief efforts are part of its International Development Program (IDP), which provides immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.
For more information, please visit www.JDC.org.