Polish Medical Mission in Haiti

The Polish Medical Mission is a non-government, non-profit humanitarian organization of Polish voluntary doctors, nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists, psychologists and medical analysts providing professional medical care to victims of disasters in the poorest countries of the world. The Mission was established in 1999 by volunteers following the war in Kosovo and the mass exodus of Albanians escaping areas in conflict. The Mission provides voluntary assistance in Syria, Kurdistan, Myanmar, Senegal, Lebanon, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, India, Ukraine, Zambia, Madagascar, Jamaica and Haiti.

In 2004 Tropical Storm Jeanne hit Haiti leaving over 3000 people dead from flooding and mudslides. In 2008 Haiti was again struck by tropical storms comprising Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane Ike. The heavy winds and rain killed 331 people and left 800,000 in need of humanitarian aid. At that time the country was already suffering from a food crisis and political unrest. In 2010 Haiti was devastated by a magnitude 7 earthquake, the most severe in over 200 years. The epicentre of the tremor was near the capital, Port-au-Prince and resulted in the death of 85,000 people and 1.6 million people homeless. The earthquake also triggered a cholera outbreak when cholera infected waste contaminated the country’s main river. In 2016, Haiti was struck by yet another tragedy, when Hurricane Mathew ripped through the country at a speed of 240 km/h and with heavy rains. 1.5 million inhabitants lost their homes and possessions and there were approximately 3000 fatalities. With an ineffective government, Haiti struggles to recover from the severity of the damage caused by these disasters.

Michal Wieczorek is an experienced mountaineer, rescuer, paramedic and medical instructor. Michal has previously worked in Poland as a paramedic and medical instructor and as an editor of medical publications. Michal has previously completed voluntary humanitarian and rescue missions in Lebanon, Southern Sudan, Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya and Nepal. Michal was employed by ASA as an Emergency Medical Services Paramedic in Kandahar, Afghanistan for the NATO Resolute Support Mission. Lukasz Mazurowski is an experienced mountaineer, rescuer, paramedic, medical instructor and project supervisor. Lukasz has previously worked as a paramedic in Poland and the United Kingdom and for the NATO Kosovo Force in Kosovo. Lukasz is currently employed by ASA as the Emergency Medical Services Chief in Kandahar, Afghanistan for the NATO Resolute Support Mission.

In Mar 2017 ASA field staff in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Michal Wieczorek and Lukasz Mazurowski volunteered to visit Haiti to assess how best to support the Sakala Centre in Port-au-Prince and its community through researching the social and health needs of the community. They also distributed educational, sporting and gardening supplies; taught basic medical care; and created a documentary about the Sakala Centre. The documentary will be used towards advertising the plight of the Haitian people and to gain sponsorship for future phases of support to Haiti. ASA commends the voluntary efforts of its staff and remains supportive of their future endeavours.