Partners In Health (PIH)

Our mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, Partners In Health strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair. We draw on the resources of the world's leading medical and academic institutions and on the lived experience of the world's poorest and sickest communities. At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone. When our patients are ill and have no access to care, our team of health professi...
Apr 21, 2015

PIH Cholera Response in Haiti - April 2015 Update

Thank you for supporting Partners In Health and our efforts to fight Cholera in Haiti.  We’re thrilled to share excerpts from an article recently published on our website about the success of the Cholera vaccination campaign—made possible with the support of generous people like yourself.

When a cholera epidemic exploded in Haiti less than a year after the devastating earthquake in January of 2010, the staff at Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante responded immediately and aggressively. We mobilized thousands of community health workers, opened cholera treatment wards, ran sanitation and hygiene initiatives, and more. A proposal to administer the new, World Health Organization-approved vaccine Shanchol was also floated.

The idea was doubted and criticized by many, but the community wanted the vaccine, and PIH/ZL was determined to provide the best care available. With the blessing of the Haitian Ministry of Health, PIH/ZL pushed ahead, and after overcoming all sorts of obstacles in distributing the tiny vials—training legions of staff, fighting the axle-gripping mud of rainy season, working around a simultaneous polio vaccination campaign, ensuring 45,417 patients swallowed two doses of the drug two weeks apart—the campaign finished in June 2012.

This past February, Dr. Louise C. Ivers and colleagues published a paper showing exactly how much the vaccine Shanchol slowed the spread of cholera in villages north of St. Marc, Haiti, in 2012. Writing in The Lancet Global Health online, the senior health and policy adviser at Partners In Health finds that Shanchol was widely effective when administered to thousands of adults and children in the region. “We found that there were about 65 percent fewer cholera cases among people that were vaccinated than there were in those that were unvaccinated,” she says.

It’s fantastic news, and not just for the obvious reason that fewer cholera cases means fewer cholera fatalities. ”Effectiveness of reactive oral cholera vaccination in rural Haiti: a case-control study and bias-indicator analysis” also reminds us of the importance of a vaccination campaign that almost never happened. And it paves the way for even stronger efforts to end the epidemic that has killed 8,800 Haitians and infected 20,000 last year alone. “It’s a huge victory,” says Dr. Ralph Ternier, director of community care and support at Partners In Health's (PIH) sister organization Zanmi Lasante (ZL).

“Our study contributes to mounting evidence that oral cholera vaccines have an important role to play as a component of comprehensive, integrated cholera control efforts in Haiti,” the study concludes.

As Dr. Ivers hints, the results of the study aren’t as earth-shattering as might be expected, but rather put a fine point on a cholera-fighting strategy that has become, well, standard. Since the vaccination campaign, the Haitian Ministry of Health, with the support of their partners, administered the vaccine to 300,000 citizens, and the World Health Organization has begun stockpiling the drug for use in future outbreaks.

Apr 21, 2015

Maternal Mortality Reduction Update - April 2015

Thank you so much for supporting Partners In Health and our work to bring quality health care to women and babies living in rural Lesotho.

Working directly with Lesotho’s Ministry of Health, PIH has provided support and training for 8,000 Village Health Workers and significantly increased the number of facility-based deliveries. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we continue to help women like Tebello, who—without the support and accompaniment of a Village Health Worker—are in danger of losing their lives in childbirth.

Tebello is like a lot of expectant mothers living in very remote, resource-poor settings. Her village in Lesotho is miles and miles away from the nearest clinic—three hours by foot. Traveling long distances while pregnant is often difficult and deters many women from seeking care. But for Tebello, the trip was basically impossible. She has a disability and is unable to walk. 

Her story could have been tragic if it weren’t for a PIH/Lesotho Village Health Worker who discovered the mother-to-be only days before she was due to give birth. Knowing how important it was for Tebello and her baby to have the proper medical care, the Village Health Worker arranged to have her carried on a stretcher to the nearest village with access to a road. From there, she and Tebello were taken by car to the clinic.

Because of Tebello’s disability, her son was delivered by cesarean section. Had she delivered at home, she would have faced childbirth alone, with no trained medical professional who knew what do when seconds made the difference. It could have been tragic. Any complication could have resulted in death.

With the village health worker’s support and accompaniment, Tebello and her son survived. They stayed at the clinic after the delivery to ensure the health of both mother and baby and they returned for a postnatal visit.

Your continued support of PIH’s Maternal Mortality Reduction Project in Lesotho reaches women like Tebello every day, and we are incredibly grateful for your partnership in delivering quality health care to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. 

Apr 14, 2015

Support children in Malawi - April 2015 Update

Photo by Lila Kerr / Partners In Health
Photo by Lila Kerr / Partners In Health

(above) NENO, MALAWI - APRIL 14, 2015: Mercy, 17, a POSER beneficiary, standing in front of the maternity ward at Neno District Hospital, where she hopes to work as a nurse one day. 

 

Thank you for supporting Partners In Health and our work to provide social support to children living in rural Malawi. Your generosity creates opportunities for vulnerable children to get to school, helping to break the cycle of poverty and disease.  Please take a moment to read about what your donation has helped to make possible over the last school term:

In total, 2011 students (985 girls) were supported through this program, receiving funds to cover the cost of school and examination fees as well as school supplies. 

Student profile:

Mercy (name changed for privacy) is a seventeen-year-old girl currently in Form 3 at Chikonde Secondary School in Malawi’s Neno District. Her father passed away some years ago, and her mom supports their family by farming maize, peas, groundnuts and vegetables. Unfortunately, the income that they earn from selling vegetables has not always been sufficient, and Mercy’s education was interrupted whenever her family could not afford the school fees or supplies. That changed when POSER (Program on Social & Economic Rights) began supporting the family: now, Mercy’s school fees are paid, and she has the supplies that she needs. When she graduates next year, she will be the first member of her family to complete secondary school. Her favorite subject is biology—she especially loves conducting experiments related to human anatomy and physiology—and she dreams of becoming a maternity nurse. Ideally she would like to return to Neno following university so that she can serve as a role model to other girls in her community, but she would also like to explore other places throughout Malawi. She is very thankful for POSER’s support, and is eager to use this opportunity to support her family and her community.

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