‘Little Friends’ get Lots of Help
A foundation is created to construct an urgent care center in French Harbour

November 1st, 2005
by Thomas Tomczyk


Presentation of the Little Friends Foundation at French Harbour's Pentecostal Church.

Presentation of the Little Friends Foundation at French Harbour's Pentecostal Church.

Over 60 people, medical professionals, politicians and supporters, gathered at the French Harbour’s Church of God on October 13 to announce the vision and goals of Little Friends Foundation.

A month before, on the 17 of September, Little Friends Foundation was established. The death of a 2 ½ year old French Harbour baby in September mobilized the community to action. “Unfortunately someone close to us had to die for us to start this effort,” said Kandy Hyde, president of the foundation. In less than a month the organization has secured five acres of donated land, an ambulance, and architectural plans for an urgent care center (UCC).

Members of the French Harbour community established an ambulance and emergency service three years ago through Paramedics for Children (PFC), but ran into difficulties of compensating ambulance staff. “The organization [PFC] had certain bylaws that we couldn’t follow. Now our own board of directors can set bylaws,” said Hyde. Five committees were organized to tackle issues ranging from public relations to clergy.

The envisioned UCC will be able to treat severe trauma cases and plans to establish an island wide network of ambulances staffed with emergency medical technicians.

The UCC will house an intensive care unit, ambulance, diagnostic laboratory, radiology, and possibly a blood bank. Roatan does not have a blood bank and patients have to arrange the transport of blood from the mainland paying Lps. 900 per pint, or, in emergency cases, find a donor willing to donate.

The issue of having a blood bank is complex as a blood transfusion and falls in Honduras under the jurisdiction of Honduran Red Cross. Still, the foundation expressed desire to work through the Honduran Red Cross to acquire the blood bank on the island. “If a hospital like D’Antoni has its own blood bank, then I don’t see why we can’t have one here,” said Dr. Gomez.

Hyde said that the foundation has a goal of providing low cost medical care and in order to do that additional sources of income will need to be found. The UCC wants to establish alliances with clinics and private physicians throughout the island to share resources and refer patients to primary care doctors and specialists.

During the meeting, people whose work and donations made the foundation a reality were recognized. Recognition was given to Pastor Roberto Brown for his dynamic Spanish translation of the presentation. However, the key to the project was a donation of five acres of land close to French Harbour Adventist School by Rita Silvestri-Morris. Several people stood up and volunteered their help and advice right there and then. Clark Johnson, director of Roatan’s Hondutel, has offered to install a telephone line to the UCC. Dr. Gomez volunteered to donate Lps. 5,000 monthly towards the foundation for a total up to Lps. 50,000. [/private]

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