March 22, 2024

US Traveling Clinic Offers Free Services to Haitians in The Bahamas

More than 400 received medical checkups at three local Seventh-day Adventist churches.

Michelle Greene and Inter-American Division News
A health professional checks the blood pressure of one of the church member volunteers who assisted during the free clinic at the Ebenezer Adventist church in Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas, February 22. [Photo: Michelle Greene]

More than 400 residents from communities in Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas, received free medical services recently, thanks to a United States–based traveling health clinic. The medical services and lectures were part of evangelistic campaign efforts for the Haitian community on the island, held February 19-March 23.

Health Care Ministries (HCM), an international traveling health clinic from New York, in collaboration with Wilson lsnord, assistant evangelism coordinator of the South Bahamas Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and three Haitian churches in New Providence, assisted during the five days of free health clinics held February 19-23.

“As a pastor, I believe in ministering to the needs in the community,” Isnord said. In 2019, Isnord played a pivotal role in communicating evacuation procedures to the Haitian community in Abaco during Hurricane Dorian, church leaders said. His experience has inspired him to explore additional ways to support the Haitian community, which is the largest foreign ethnic group in The Bahamas.

“What is going on in Haiti, especially the political crises, causes many to be emotionally stressed,” Isnord explained. “As a leader, it behooves me to find a way to minister to their needs; [the] mental, emotional, spiritual, [and] even financial needs of the community.”

HCM is a group of volunteers who provide free medical care to those in the Haitian Diaspora, as well as other people in need. Although HCM is based in New York, medical professionals from New Jersey and Florida consistently join the group in its yearly travels, Daniel Mondesir, founder and president of HCM, said. The nonprofit organization began health mission efforts in Haiti after the country was devastated by the 2010 earthquake.

Mondesir shared that recently the group had to diversify its destinations to reach more people in the Haitian Diaspora. “They are spreading all over the world, and they are still suffering,” he said, “and a lot of them are underprivileged in many different parts of the world.”

During the planning of their travels, Mondesir also took into consideration the safety of the volunteers, as some individuals also travel with their children. “We decided until our homeland gets better, we are going to help those that are in need in other places that are less dangerous and much safer for us to be,” Mondesir said.

The group’s first mission trip outside of Haiti was to the Dominican Republic in February 2020. Shortly after, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted plans until this year, when fourteen members were able to travel to The Bahamas.

The clinics were held at Francophone Adventist church, Bethel Adventist church, and Ebenezer Adventist church. The medical missionaries began each clinic in the morning, and the group provided physical health checkups, medicine, and lectures.

According to Sergelyne Cadet-Valeus, an internal medicine specialist and HCM member, many individuals visited the clinic for issues of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

“We have come with a lot of medication [and] information to help the people in the community,” Cadet-Valeus said.

During each lecture, individuals were invited to ask questions on various health topics including cancer, nutrition, and non-communicable diseases.

While providing medical assistance, HCM also donated food and clothing to individuals in the community.

“We educate the people. Giving [to] them is one thing; showing them how to take care of themselves is another thing,” Mondesir said. “We sent eight to nine barrels of clothes and food to distribute to the needy.  It is not just medication that is going to help them,” he added.

Health volunteers from the three local Haitian Adventist churches were also assisting the community. According to an Ebenezer Adventist church volunteer, 16-year-old Gerry Annacius, health clinics such as HCM are important as they help those who are disenfranchised, which is part of the Christian’s duty.

“This is just one of our ways to give back to the community,” Annacius said. “We are also doing God’s work by just helping people in general, by making sure they are doing well and that they’re feeling OK, and they get the health care that they need.”

Volunteering with HCM also motivated Annacius to continue assisting his church as a health missionary.

“It taught me that being a Christian health professional isn’t just about knowing how to do things and how to use instruments, but connecting with people,” Annacius said.

As the group travels every year to various territories, Mondesir said, they are always looking for volunteers and individuals who can assist by other means. The important thing, he said, is to reach as many people as they can. “I know that we cannot save the world, but we can make a difference,” Mondesir said.

During their stay, the team members also presented health topics at the beginning of the Creole-speaking evangelistic series. The evangelistic tent revival series was held under the theme “Lè Wayòm sa va Vini” (“When the Kingdom Comes”), with evangelist Moise Arboite, from February 25 to March 16.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site. Health Care Ministries is an independent supporting ministry and is not operated by the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church.