Ministry at mercy of fluctuating precious metals market

By July 3, 2013

Haiti (MNN) — A burn clinic in Haiti is in a pinch.

Eva DeHart with
For Haiti With Love says silver sulfadiazine, more commonly known as silvadene or SSD, is their most effective burn cream.

"It's a combination of sulfur–which is the healing part of it, and silver–which is an anti-bacterial, anti-infective," she explains. "It protects from infection and promotes healing, all at the same time."

But For Haiti's supply is almost out. And the likelihood of getting more is tied to an unusual element.

"The clinic in Haiti is now tied to the precious metals market, because [burn cream contains] silver," DeHart states.

As the price of silver goes up, so does the price of burn cream. In March, the price of silvadene jumped from $10 USD for a 400-gram jar to $42 USD. On top of the price hike, DeHart says their partner, Blessings International, has run out of burn cream and isn't able to help For Haiti's clinic.

For Haiti was able to raise $2,000 for an entire shipment of silvadene, so there's hope on the horizon. But the shipment won't arrive until October.

"Between now and October, we're in a pinch," DeHart explains. "It's kind of embarrassing to run a burn clinic without burn cream, but it is really hard to find it right now."

Although For Haiti has found a small supplier who can provide silvadene at $35 USD per jar, it's beyond what the ministry and most Haitians can afford.

"If we had a big budget, we could just go ahead and order a whole bunch of the 400-gram jars and not worry about it," DeHart says. "But we really don't have that kind of budget."

When the clinic runs out of silvadene, patients have to bring their own.

"Since they don't have the money for it, then that meant they were borrowing money from relatives to bring their burn cream to the clinic," explains DeHart.

What happens if patients can't scrape together enough cash?

"Infections are a real danger, and even the smallest burn can be life-threatening," she says.

While burn cream is expensive, the doors opened by treatment are priceless.

"It's really an important service to the people and a wonderful opportunity to witness," DeHart says. "Accidents do happen, but sometimes those burns are voodoo priests, or victims of voodoo priests."

One voodoo priest came to For Haiti's burn clinic for treatment and left with more than he expected. Not only did clinic workers treat the man's burns, they shared the Gospel with him.

"He ended up coming back every day. They gave him a Bible, and then he would come up with questions that he had about things in the Bible," recalls DeHart. "They were actually doing daily Bible studies with him to answer his questions and encourage him where to read next in the Bible.

"It's some of the one-on-one opportunities you get that really keep you going."

Pray for a supplier to come forth and help the burn clinic until For Haiti's October shipment comes in. Pray for a decrease in severe burns so less cream is needed for treatment.

If you'd like to help send more burn cream to Haiti, click here, then select "DONATE NOW."

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