Chronic disease management remains a major challenge in Haiti. Barriers to health care access, an inadequate health care infrastructure, insufficient training of medical providers, lack of subspecialists, shortage of essential supplies and medications, poor literacy and low socio-economic status frequently prevent adequate care delivery for children with chronic health conditions. As a result, many children with chronic health conditions remain undiagnosed or receive poor quality care, leading to unacceptably high morbidity and mortality.
The Kay Mackenson Center aims to provide high-quality care to children with chronic diseases. centre offers free long-term disease management and monitoring that is setting-adapted and family-centred. We promote patient and family education and enable self-management and independence within each child’s community. Our goal is for our patients to lead healthy, happy lives, and to reduce morbidity and mortality from the chronic conditions affecting them. To achieve these goals, we rely on excellent clinical staff for the provision of clinical care, to raise awareness within communities, to educate their peer medical providers.
The Kay Mackenson Diabetes Program
The Kay Mackenson Heart Program
Kay Mackenson started treating a single patient with diabetes in 2012 and rapidly expanded to now serving over 100 affected children and adolescents. KM offers a comprehensive clinical care program that provides patients and families with the necessary self-management skills to treat their condition. Supported by the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child program (www.lifeforachild.org), KM is able to equip patients with supplies including insulin, glucometers, glucose test strips, syringes and emergency fast-acting sugar and glucagon (a medication that rapidly increases blood sugar). Patients receive careful routine monitoring during their monthly to quarterly visits at our ambulatory centre, with phone follow-up as needed in between visits, including a 24-hour phone call hotline (patients are equipped with cell phones if they don’t have one). All children are also regularly screened for diabetes complications.
KM has a growing outreach and education program that aims to raise childhood diabetes awareness in the community and train medical providers in the basics of diagnosis and management. KM dedicates resources and time to quality improvement, monitoring and evaluation, as well as clinical and public health research.
Learn more about Diabetes.
Children can be born with a heart problem or can acquire it over time, as is the case with rheumatic heart disease that can arise after a specific bacterial infection. If the heart problem is severe enough to affect the heart’s function, children may require surgery. If the problem is caused by one of the valves in the heart being too tight or too leaky, children may need a new artificial or “prosthetic” valve, which in turn may mean that they need to take a blood thinner for the rest of their lives to prevent dangerous clots from forming on the new valves. Kay Mackenson cares for patients that have had heart surgery and ensures that their blood is sufficiently thinned.
Read more about Pediatric heart disease in Haiti.
The number of children suffering from kidney disease in Haiti is currently not known, but it is likely that, due to a lack of diagnostic tools, many children still go undiagnosed. Haiti no longer has a pediatric kidney specialist, and Kay Mackenson is now one of the few speciality centres where children with kidney problems can receive care.
Learn more about kidney disease in children.