Boston-based Partners in Health has fulfilled its pledge to spend $123 million in funds it collected to help residents of Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake there devastated the countrys infrastructure and killed more than 300,000 people.
PIH pledged one month after the earthquake to address the immediate needs of victims and work alongside the Haitian government to build and renovate the countrys public health infrastructure, strengthen its public medical education system, and expand PIHs programs for community development and poverty alleviation.
Among the examples of progress made possible through PIHs commitment, according to a news release, include successful partnerships, vision for sustainability, stewardship of donor funds and the following projects:
Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais: PIH completed construction of the $17 million, 300-bed national public teaching hospital in 2012 and will open the hospital this month. Located 30 miles north of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, the hospital will provide primary care services to nearly 185,000 people in Mirebalais and central Haiti, and advanced care to patients from Port-au-Prince who receive referrals. The hospital will employ up to 800 Haitian staff and serve as the first university teaching hospital in central Haiti, providing residencies and clinical rotations for Haitis national nursing and medical schools. In addition, the hospitals 1,800 solar panels will produce 100% of its energy needs during peak daylight hours and feed surplus energy back into the grid, the first agreement of its kind with Haiti public utility company, Electricite dHaiti.
Oral cholera vaccine: Cholera has killed 7,750 people in Haiti since October 2010, according to the release. In spring 2012, PIH pioneered Haitis first oral cholera vaccine, delivering vaccines to nearly 100,000 people in partnership with Haitis Ministry of Health and the nonprofit organization Haitian Study Group on Kaposis Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections. Since then, the World Health Organization has called for the creation of a global stockpile of two million doses of the vaccine. The United Nations included the use of the vaccine as part of a $2.2 billion plan to eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.PIH has delivered nearly 100,000 doses of an oral cholera vaccine throughout Haiti.
Malnutrition treatment: PIH, in partnership with Abbott Labaratories and the Abbott Fund, will open a new production facility this spring to combat the long-standing challenges of malnutrition. The facility, located in Corporant, will be used to produce a minimum of 60 tons of Nourimanba, a ready-to-use therapeutic food, to treat up to 6,000 cases of pediatric malnutrition in the first year. The factory also will create dozens of jobs and provide a guaranteed market income for more than 250 local peanut farmers. This project will be integrated into PIHs agricultural initiatives to improve local farmers skills and expertise and strengthen their ability to supply the facility with a reliable supply of high-quality peanuts. Nourimanba has been locally produced and distributed by PIH on a smaller scale since 2006.
Mental health expansion: PIH responded to the emotional needs of Haitians affected by the earthquake by more than doubling the size of its mental health and psychosocial support team. This work is supported by a recent $1.5 million Grand Challenges Canada grant to improve mental health care in countries affected by disaster and poverty. In 2013, PIH will train community health workers to identify and support people suffering from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress, and refer them to appropriate medical facilities. A pilot program will incorporate the use of mobile phones by community health workers to diagnose and refer patients. The new program will develop a decentralized model of mental health care to be expanded nationally in Haiti.