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Corporate Social Responsibility

Haiti Relief Fund

Re-establishing laboratory services in the wake of the Haiti earthquake

Assisting the CAP Foundation Haiti Relief Fund Task Force re-establish sustainable long-term laboratory services, Nikon Instruments Inc. has donated five microscopes and helped to secure biomedical engineering services to repair out-of-service equipment. "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."



Working in conjunction with The Cap Foundation Haiti Relief Fund Task Force Nikon Instruments donates microscopes to assist with Haiti Relief Fund

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 the CAP Foundation Task Force travelled 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 knew 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 was in communication with the Family Health Ministries and Women's Health Ministries.  Task Force members volunteered their time and covered 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 salvaged some equipment, but it sat idle in tents, with no electricity and limited staffing.  Still other equipment was sitting 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.

For laboratories that were partially operational, the College of American Pathologists donated PT kits for the HIV rapid test and reading of AFB smears by Ziehl-Nielsen. The Foundation arranged the delivery of educational materials and training in laboratory management and assistance with reagents and instruments.  Dr. Aller also travelled to Haiti to assess clinical informatics needs. 

Dr. Zarka said next steps for the task force were 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 planned 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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