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Second epilepsy clinic created in Haiti

The Clinique d’Épilepsie de Port-Au-Prince (CLIDEP), which opened its doors in 2008 with the help of the North American Commission of the ILAE, now has a secondary site in rural Haiti.

With the help of the Rotary Foundation, the North American Commission was able to obtain a vehicle to perform mobile clinics on a bi-monthly basis in the region of the Central Plateau, more precisely in the cities of Saint-Marc and Cange. These visits started in March 2012 after Dr Reginald Fils-Aimé, a local physician from Partners in Health (PIH), was assigned to the project. In addition to accompanying the visiting epileptologists, he was also able to receive basic EEG training at CLIDEP over the last three months of the one-year training program which included six visits.

We would like to thank Drs Jeff Bigelow (Salt Lake City), Lionel Carmant (Montreal), Stanley Élysée (Quebec City), Mill Étienne (New York City) and Serge Pierre-Louis (Chicago) for their volunteer participation. In addition to providing care to the local population, they also gave formal training on multiple subjects such as diagnosis and treatment of the epilepsies, neonatal seizures and encephalopathy, HIV and epilepsy, stroke and epilepsy to local physicians, nurses and medical students. They also took a day to evaluate refractory patients at CLIDEP.

Dr Carmant with new van
Dr Lionel Carmant

New EEG system installed by David Hébert

Drs Carmant and Fils-Aimé consulting in a local clinic

To finalize the project, PIH committed to buying an EEG machine for the region and to having a psychologist trained at CLIDEP in EEG. The new EEG system was installed by David Hébert (former EEG technologist from Montreal) in the PIH new hospital in Mirebalais. The new hospital opened in March 2013, and since, the PIH team has been able to diagnose and treat independently with access to carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin and valproic acid. There is no need for them to refer patients to CLIDEP as complicated EEGs are transmitted electronically to Dr Carmant.

The group is now working on the development of a third site in the Southern region of Jacmel with the help of the Canadian and Haitian Red Cross as well as the World Federation of Neurology. We expect the new clinic to open by July 2014 with EEG capabilities in their new hospital.

by Lionel Carmant, MD, Hôpital Saint Justine, Université de Montréal

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