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Haitian woman comes to SWFL and wants to make sure everyone gets healthcare

A woman’s journey to Southwest Florida began with her own struggles. Now, she’s trying to make sure that minority communities can receive affordable healthcare.

You can see the pride on Lawrence Egger’s face when he talks about his wife, Geneve. “Geneve is a wonderful person, she works very very hard, yes you do,” said Lawrence.

Geneve gives the love right back. “And you too.”

They run PANIRA Healthcare Clinic, on East Tamiami Trail in Collier County.

It’s been a long journey for Geneve. She came to the U.S. from Haiti as a single mom in 2006. She was receiving Medicaid then.

Geneve thought it’d be simple to treat her sinusitis and her son’s asthma in America. “and then it was a shock it wasn’t that easy,” she said.

She remembers waiting hours in the ER for simple sinus problems but also not knowing where else to go. “I remember that was the one that really hit me hard. And that was really really frustrating and being a single mom your baby is waiting for you,” said Geneve.

Egger is a Registered Nurse now and, as the CEO of PANIRA, she doesn’t want to see anyone else being put in that position. “I’m very honored to be a vehicle for those who are not… who don’t have insurance, those who don’t have much knowledge about healthcare,” said Geneve.

PANIRA offers a sliding scale fee to some and has a free clinic. They also have staff who speak Creole and Spanish.

Lawrence just says they’re grateful. “We are just very grateful to be here and we are very honored like Geneve says to be a part of this community…do the best we can,” he said.

The clinic provides free rapid COVID-19 tests for uninsured patients.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Drew Hill
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