PAAO President’s Message

August 2022

Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President, 2022-2025

Dear Pan-American friends,
This month we chat with Dr. Florence Burr-Reynaud, president of the Haitian Society of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Burr-Reynaud and her colleagues in Haiti struggle with many social and economical problems. Their perseverance, care for their patients and desire to improve conditions are inspiring.
Sincerely,
Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD PAAO President

PD: As outsiders, we observe through the press that Haiti struggles to surpass many social and economical problems. How does this affect the Ophthalmology practice of the Society members? And how does the Society deal with it?

FBR: We have been affected in many ways, especially with issues surrounding security. Kidnapping is prevalent in Haiti. This has been an issue for quite some time, however, now things have become exacerbated. Doctors, nurses, truck drivers with medical supplies and aid are routinely kidnapped. For example, 7 doctors were kidnapped within a 2 week period in July of 2022. This has caused many ophthalmologists to seek employment outside of Haiti. Moreover, patients are afraid to leave their house to seek care as the streets are unsafe. Society members as whole condemn kidnapping but we do not have the resources to fight insecurity and must deal with it in the same manner as everyday Haitian citizens.

 

PD: What are the needs of the Society members regarding continued medical education?

FBR: Society members are always looking to give the best care to our patients. We seek further medical education in order to gain insight on how to help the Haitian population more efficiently with their medical needs, especially access to the care they require.

Florence Burr-Reynaud MD

Office: UMO, Rue Saint Cyr, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Phone: +509 223-5360
email: florence.burrreynaud@gmail.com

  • Doctor of Medicine: Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, P-a-P, Haiti 1979-1984
  • Residency in Ophthalmology: Hospital of the State University of Haiti, 1985-1989
  • Basic Course Guillermo Pico (Puerto Rico) January 1987
  • Service doctor Ophthalmology service HUEH 1991- 1998

  • Physician in charge of Ophthalmology: Center de Sante La providence 1986 to date (Volunteering)

  • Doctor in private practice: UMO, Rue Saint Cyr Port au Prince from 1986 to date

  • Treasurer (2008 to 2014) then President of the Haitian Society of Ophthalmology 2016 to date

PD: Is there any initiative of the Haitian Ophthalmology Society regarding the ocular health for the population?

FBR: Overall, we tend to concentrate on outreach and overall education of the Haitian population on ocular health. Specifically, it has always been a target to have a center for cornea transplant in Haiti and centers for cornea banking. Haiti currently does not have the infrastructure to support such a system. To raise awareness and funding requires exposure, however, doctors who are in the public eye are victims of kidnappings as information and their whereabouts are made public such as a scheduled radio station appearance. Given the current circumstance, what we look to do is information commercials on radio and television on ocular health.

PD: In your view, how important is to be affiliated to the PAAO? FBR: We are so thankful for the assistance and networking opportunities PAAO allows us to have and maintain. It is very important to be affiliated with the PAAO because it is easier to talk and make exchanges with affiliated doctors as we are an underdeveloped country and they understand our needs and the way we are practicing ophthalmology in contrast to the developed countries where they have a wider range of resources. So we learn a lot from PAAO affiliates because they have techniques we can apply in Haiti. We know we can always count on PAAO for exchange of doctors to teach us new techniques that can be applied in Haiti and lectures on various subject matters. We are very grateful for this relationship with PAAO.