The Haitian people have long operated on a cultural health-care system dependent on outsider hand-outs. When Dr. Erol Rene founded the Luke Society ministry in Cayes-Jacmel in 2010, he set out to change that mentality.
Haiti had just come off arguably the country’s worst natural disaster in history – a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010 – but that did not deter him in his long-term plans to bring community health development and health education to people in his region.
His goal is aimed at pulling the community out of the rut of dependency and changing the culture to one where residents take ownership of their own health care. He also has a commitment to rebuilding Haiti spiritually.
Dr. Rene is fostering this change through a grassroots effort aimed at equipping members of rural communities with knowledge and education to deal with minor diseases and ailments. He teaches community members procedures such as basic first aid and intramuscular injections, while bringing spiritual healing at the same time.
Read more about the ministry and Dr. Erol Rene in our profile series here: Profile: Cayes-Jacmel, Haiti.
Dr. Erol Rene
Dr. Erol Rene is a soft-spoken, sacrificial leader. He holds a strong conviction for the people in Cayes-Jacmel, Haiti, to be accountable for their own health and well-being. Instead of clinging to a culture of dependency, his motivation comes from a desire to help his fellow countrymen make improvements with their own hard work and resources. The Partnership Ministry Team for Cayes-Jacmel includes: Mark Kauk, Gary and Laura Malenke and Mark and Nancy Turek.
Population: 10.1 million
Size: 48,670 sq. km, or about twice the size of New Hampshire.
Borders: Caribbean Sea to the west and south; Atlantic Ocean to the north; Dominican Republic to the east.
Religious groups: Roman Catholic, 54.7%; Protestant, 28.5%
Primary language: French and Creole
Literacy (age 15+): 60.7%
Physician density: N/A
Population below international poverty line: 58.5%
Life expectancy: 63.5 years
Infant mortality rate: 48 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Major exports: Apparel, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee.
Climate: Tropical; semiarid where mountains cut off east trade winds.
Terrain: Mostly rough and mountainous.