The is the second of a series with Dr. Wilkens Gilbert, one of ~120 surgeons
who serve Haiti's population of ~12 million. I'm grateful for Dr. Gilbert sharing his life
experience and proud to have him as a member of Team Hand To Hand! Please share!
Access the latest Q&A and previous posts.
Why did you choose to practice medicine in your home country?
"You practice in traditional and non-traditional environments, from hospitals to mobile clinics. Why do you do that and what impact do you believe your outreach has on the patients you serve?
This is a very interesting question. As I have just seen above I am a surgeon, however it must be remembered that well before my specialized training I worked as a general practitioner. I became a Surgeon and I realized that quite often I can be equally helpful in helping people with general or primary health problems without waiting for complications or the need for surgery. So I decided to split my professional practice in General and Specialized Medicine. My rapprochement with the populations in the countryside or inherited places convinced me of the paramount importance of involving them and empowering them in the preservation and management of their health. All this made me understand the immense needs and the many tasks to be done in order to break down the various barriers and make health care available and accessible to these populations.
So I started to build a network of professionals through a private clinic launched in early 2013 with the support of unforgettable friends (Robin Schreck, Kathleen M. Sanner, John Bouley, Suzanne Gilbertie, Fr. Frank Roll, OTH, Kathleen Henn, SHC of Southbury) ready to work as a team to provide a better response, within our means, to the problems identified.
Conscious that I was trained in the Faculty of Medicine to become Caregiver and not Manager and that the leadership of this network of professionals require special managerial skills, so I decided like a fool to go back to school in September 2014 In December 2015, to obtain a degree (DESS) in health services management, which enabled me to acquire the necessary knowledge to carry out the projects in view and particularly the project of mobile clinic in partnership with MATH which proves to be a great Success for three years with approximately 50,000 people who have benefited from our interventions, so a little more than 15,000 people treated annually.
In short, the reality on the ground demands that action can be taken both upstream and downstream. In other words, while there is no doubt that the specialized needs are enormous (125 active Surgeons); it is even more evident that millions of people do not have access to primary care, and even vulgar scabies can create very big trouble to a whole community.
Hence my bizarre and crazy bet to combine the general and primary care with the medical specialty for the benefit of these populations."
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