Helping Haiti Heal

selina sakina

The Imamia Medics International Assessment and Coordination Team (IMI ACT) was in Haiti from February 25 to March 11th, 2010. The small team was comprised of Farhaj Hassan (EMT) and Sakina Rizvi (IMI’s Program Coordinator, Haiti & Associate Representative to the United Nations), who liaised with international agencies and IMI’s local contacts to complete a rapid assessment of the situation,developed relationships with national and international entities, and coordinated logistics for IMI medical teams.

IMI ACT also distributed medical supplies and other materials to assist the community’s recovery. In addition to Portau-Prince, IMI ACT visited numerous sites in Haiti, including St. Marc, Pierre Payen, Montrouis, and Patien Payen to the North of PortauPrince, Carrefour, and Leoganne to the West of Port-au-Prince, and Cayes Jacmel along the southern coast of Haiti.

IMI ACT was followed closely by IMI’s Medical Team that provided medical assistance through CDRS/SHINE and the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) in Petitionville, a suburb of PortauPrince, from March 9 to March 17, 2010.

The IMI Medical Team was comprised of Dr. Mitra Arjang, Dr. Cassim Degani, Dr. Khatoon Ginwala, Naeema Ginwala, Dr. Alefiyah Mesiwala, and Pras Patcha. Dr. Mahwesh Javed and Muneeb Qadri also joined the team in Haiti.

In addition to working at the J/P HRO field hospital that catered to the displaced community of approximately 45,000 (daytime estimates) 75,000 (overnight estimates), IMI doctors also participated in offsite, mobile clinics set up in nearby communities such as Selina, Carrefour and Cite Soleil, and performed surgeries and provided obstetrics care at Hospital General in PortauPrince.

Over the course of one afternoon in Selina (working with JP HRO), about 650 people were triaged and 370 patients received medical care.

  • It was an excellent once in a lifetime experience. Going with IMI enables us to be treated so well and we could see so many special places. 

    Sabina Syed
  • I want to thank you all for giving me such a great opportunity to be a part of your team (in Haiti). It was a unique experience and I really enjoyed working with you all. 

    Mitra Arjang
  • I cannot express the profound impact IMI has had on my life: from the incredible opportunity to serve on the Arbaeen Medical Mission to the insightful career guidance and special programs for Young Leaders that I’ve benefitted from!

    Mohammed Akbar
  • I graduated from medical college in Pakistan. Knowing I wanted to pursue a specialty in the US, I went through the routine process of studying for and clearing the USMLE's and becoming ECFMG certified. There are plenty of online forums that help you up to that stage. What happens after that and before you land a residency is something no one prepares you for. Even knowing a person who went through the process is not enough. I found the answers to all my questions about the process, its workings and methods at the IMI Career Guidance Seminar. I learnt more in the few hours I spent there than I did in months, yes months, of thorough research online and through the measly networking I was capable of as a foreign graduate. It is literally a live 'Medical Residency for Dummies', and you get great coffee and dinner to boot. I interacted with candidates like myself along with current residents, and doctors who are involved in hiring committees at hospitals. I learnt how to choose programs, how to strengthen my resume, what to seek and where, and even what to wear. I have a month before I apply, but after the seminar - I have more confidence in the 'how' of the process.  I walked in to the seminar hall a nervous wreck - armed with vague internet advice and the intimidation of an overwhelming process. I thought my average scores would filter me out of every hospital program - I left knowing I need to apply 'wisely', not 'widely'. I learnt how to identify and enhance my positives, and overcome my shortcomings. I understood how to streamline programs to apply to, how to contact them and the level of persistence to employ. I was made aware of the importance of and difference between clinical experience in the US and research experience, and how to add both to my resume. All this, and more, in just a few hours. I cannot stress enough the effects this seminar had on me. I am now realistic in my approach - versus the optimism fresh graduates tend to bring with them. You may choose not to believe me, but after the seminar I didn't just breathe a sigh of relief - I let slip a few tears as well. I knew what to do, how to do it and where to ask for assistance. 

    If InshAllah, I secure a residency in the upcoming match, I will owe the organizers and the speakers at the seminar more than they will take credit for. 

    Annie Agha
  • I just wanted to say thanks to everyone on this list for what proved to be a truly life-altering experience.  It was terrific working with all of you, except Farhaj...But seriously, Naeema and some of my other classmates know rather well that I had allowed medical school and the residency process to make me cynical and tired.  I'm happy to say though, that after a week of truly hard work, emotional challenge, and actually helping some people, I have returned home feeling refreshed and renewed.  As corny as this all sounds, I'm actually excited to be a doctor again.  I can't thank you all enough for that. So I'm hooked on relief work.  I hope that I have more opportunities to help in situations like this, and if possible, to work with you all again.

    P. Pratcha (IMI Relief: Haiti)
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