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Dr. Steeve Victor, Hope for Haiti’s Healthcare Director

“Ayiti offri anpil opportunite” - Haiti offers much opportunity, but few possibilities to realize it. When Dr. Steeve Victor speaks of his country, he speaks of the potential it holds – both through its richness of natural resources and the incredible human capital. “Our young people are able and motivated, and Haiti’s place in the world can and will improve.”

Dr. Victor’s own story is a testament to natural ability combined with hard work and perseverance. Always the strongest student in his family of six children, Dr. Victor decided to become a doctor at age nine after his grandmother broke her arm. Though she needed a relatively simple operation, the difficulty of securing lab tests in Haiti forced her to wait for more than a year before her bone was properly re-aligned. Seeing his grandmother’s frustration motivated the young Dr. Victor to pursue orthopedics.

After excelling in his high school curriculum in Les Cayes, Dr. Victor sat for the national exam—competing for one of 60 scholarships to study medicine in Cuba. Pursuing his interest in surgery, he ranked third in the class and also met his future wife, Dr. Nazaire, who currently serves as Hope for Haiti's Director of Infirmary Saint Etienne.

Learning in Cuba had its advantages. Dr. Victor possesses expertise in laboratory and specialty techniques unavailable through the Haitian state education system. Returning to Haiti for his residency at the General Hospital in emergency medicine, Dr. Victor learned to work through material constraints by focusing on inter-personal diagnostics between himself and his patients. With so many patients that cannot afford services, healthcare can be frustrating here. Still, according to Dr. Steeve, “Doctors don’t work for the money. It is the difficult cases that challenge my work day to day and motivate me to continue helping others.”
In his more than two years of work with Hope for Haiti, including a harrowing immediate response following the earthquake, Dr. Victor has capitalized on his opportunities. When asked to describe his day to day, the only constant is “always busy!” As Hope for Haiti’s Healthcare Director, Dr. Victor has focused on providing care to those who cannot pay through securing inaccessible medications and supplies. Though Hope for Haiti aims to develop sustainably, the Infirmary Saint Etienne (ISE) is not constrained by revenue. “That is a major difference between our Clinic and other healthcare facilities in Haiti,” says Dr. Steeve. “At ISE, we always have or can get the medication needed for the patient. We always pay our staff. We have constant access to the best materials we need because of the generous donations of Hope for Haiti’s supporters.”

Dr. Victor encourages young Haitians to pursue their dreams, just as he did. “I was lucky. I knew I loved medicine my whole life. And my family always provided opportunities and encouragement.” His advice to others who want to follow in his footsteps – “make it happen.” Natural ability can maintain the present, but initiative and hard work are required to achieve a better future.

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