Rotary District 6630’s first Vocational Training Team partners with St. Damien’s Childrens Hospital in Haiti, Akron Childrens Hospital and Gift of life Northeast Ohio
Rotary International began funding Vocational Training Team (VTT) Teams in 2016. VTT is a group of professionals who travel to another country, either to learn more about their profession or to teach local professionals about a particular field. Vocational Training Teams are reciprocated by partner districts.
Past District 6630 Governor Bob Johnson with Burton Middlefield Rotary Club member Dr. Jim Eldridge worked to bring Rotary district 6630’s its first VTT. The matching grant equipped and trained personnel for a pediatric surgery intensive care unit at St. Damien’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The grant was initiated in January of 2016. Despite problems with language, government and shipping dysfunctions in Haiti, the educational exchange between St. Damien Children’s and their peers at Akron Children’s came to fruition.
The project exchanged an 8-person team of pediatricians, nurses, biomedical engineers, Echo/scanning technicians and materials personnel between the two hospitals. A total of 15 District 6630 Rotary clubs plus the host club of Burton-Middlefield and a generous donation from our neighbor Rotary District 6600 provided over $24,000 matched by Gift of Life NEO and International as well as The Rotary Foundation generated $115,000.
PDG Bob Johnson said, “I had the easy part of speaking at Rotary clubs and raising the funds for the project. Dr. Eldridge did the hard work of writing the grant and following it through to completion with progress reports, hundreds of e-mails requesting information, signatures, RI forms, gathering receipts and other accounting to keep the project on track and moving forward to a successful completion.”
The RC of Burton-Middlefield was honored and proud that a relatively small club of 45 members with the support of other district 6630 clubs could complete such a large and complex project. Many people both here in the U. S. and in Haiti were part of this project but the bulk of the grant work was done by Dr. Eldridge. To date over two hundred successful surgeries have been carried out in the pediatric ICU by teams of visiting doctors. Gift of Life NEO and Rotary have helped our partners give hope for survival and a future for young children with congenital heart defects and their parents in Haiti.