Stories from the Field

Ms. Yolene Leonard

05/01/2014
Ms. Yolene Leonard

Photo source: USAID

Lymphatic Filariasis Focal Point and Chief Nurse, Camp Perrin Health Center, Ministry of Health (MSPP)

The South Department in Haiti has low lymphatic filariasis (LF) prevalence, overall. However, one particular commune called Camp Perrin was identified as having a relatively high LF prevalence rate of 7%. Consequently, this commune became a priority zone for the government to start delivering mass treatment for LF; and in 2003, Camp Perrin started receiving this mass treatment. One particular individual, Ms. Yolene Leonard, was particularly committed to the success of this effort.

Ms. Leonard has served as a nurse for over 16 years at the health center in Camp Perrin and she is currently the LF focal point for the MSPP. On top of her many other duties as the center’s chief nurse, Ms. Leonard is responsible for the coordination and supervision of neglected tropical disease (NTD) program activities. She leads the training of community drug distributors, supervises each round of mass treatment, and develops the NTD reports that are sent to department heads.

A dynamic problem solver, Ms. Leonard leads by example. She has been the booming voice on the back of the truck, raising awareness in the community and encouraging people to participate in mass treatments. Ms. Leonard is committed to the NTD control program and she was deeply concerned when the program was temporarily stopped from 2005 to 2010, due to funding constraints. When USAID funding became available and revived the program in 2011, Ms. Leonard was more than ready to lead the effort.

Ms. Leonard is well respected within the community and her dedication to LF elimination in Haiti is clearly illustrated though her work and dedication to helping people within Camp Perrin. Under her leadership, LF prevalence in Camp Perrin has decreased from 7% to almost 0%.