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...
Mar 24, 2015

PIH Ebola Response - March 2015 Update

Your support of Partners In Health and our Ebola response efforts in West Africa has been critical to our ability to serve those impacted by the epidemic. While Ebola and other preventable and treatable illnesses continue to take the lives of West Africans each day, PIH—along with our partners—has made significant progress in containing the outbreak and also rebuilding broken health systems.

Throughout the past six months, we have deployed more than 250 U.S.-based clinicians to West Africa. Doctors, nurses and other staff are needed to train locals in infection control and prevention, treat Ebola patients, and ensure that people experiencing other health problems can receive care as well. Otherwise women in childbirth or people who are sick with common afflictions, including malaria, typhoid, and pneumonia, will not get basic care—which will lead to more unnecessary deaths.

Please take a moment to hear from one of those clinicians in this video.  Thank you for your generosity, which enables PIH to continue bringing lifesaving care and long-lasting systems to some of the poorest people in the world.

Nurse Cheedy Jaja: Why I Serve in Sierra Leone

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Mar 16, 2015

PIH Haiti Earthquake Recovery - March 2015 Update

Thank you so much for your support of Partners In Health (PIH) and our work to build back better in Haiti after the devastating earthquake that nearly destroyed the capital of Port au Prince in January of 2010.  With the help of supporters and partners, PIH and our sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante, have made great progress over the past five years. While there is still much to be done, we continue to look forward with optimism, knowing that together, we'll save and improve more lives every day. 

Please take a moment to watch and listen to a reflection from our Co-Founder Ophelia Dahl:

Ophelia Dahl: Haiti 5 Years after the Earthquake

Thank you again for your critical support. 

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Feb 24, 2015

University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti Feb. 2014

Rebecca E. Rollins/Partners In Health
Rebecca E. Rollins/Partners In Health

Thank you so much for your generous support of our work to continue improving access to quality health care in Haiti.  With your partnership, Partners In Health and our Haitian sister organization, Zanmi Lasante, now provides comprehensive cancer services at University Hospital in Mirebalais.  Below, you'll find an update on this work as told through an interview with oncology program director Dr. Ruth Damuse. 

Dr. Ruth Damuse, oncology program director for Partners In Health's Haitian sister organization, Zanmi Lasante, helped establish PIH/ZL's formal cancer care in Haiti. Zanmi Lasante's oncology program started at its hospital in Cange in the Central Plateau and now serves patients at University Hospital in Mirebalais. The hospital sees an average of 22 oncology patients each day, and patients receive care free of charge. To mark World Cancer Day, Feb. 4, we asked Damuse a few questions about PIH/ZL's cancer care.

Before Zanmi Lasante started offering oncology services, what was likely to happen to a person with cancer in rural Haiti?

Before ZL officially offered oncology services in our network, people in rural Haiti didn't have any chance to have access to cancer care. A few patients would try to get the services in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but the cost would be so high, they would start a treatment and stop in the middle of the process.

Why is it important for patients at University Hospital to have access to oncology services?

Because it was our promise to the community. University Hospital was built to become the center of excellence for quality care in Haiti and to be the place where the next generation of Haitian health professionals would be trained.

How has cancer care evolved at University Hospital?

Since the oncology services moved from Cange to Mirebalais, the number of cases has more than doubled and continues to grow every day. Our diagnostic capacity continues to expand, and we routinely perform biopsies (mostly core needle biopsies) as well as CT scans in order to diagnose and stage patients. In November 2014, an oncology rotation was added to the internal medicine residency program for second-year residents. So far, two second-year internal medicine residents have completed a four-week rotation in the oncology service.

The first patient who had surgery at University Hospital was a breast cancer patient. We are working to integrate oncology care with surgery, and we even have a surgical oncology clinic each week. Oncology cases make up a significant portion of the surgeries performed at University Hospital. Our diagnostic and staging capability has significantly increased since moving to University Hospital, and we can use the CT scanner for staging as well as for procedures such as CT-guided biopsies, something not available anywhere else in the public sector [in Haiti].

Through our integration with internal medicine and our collaboration with other teams throughout the hospital (surgery and mental health, etc.), we are able to offer comprehensive services to patients with a variety of cancer diagnoses.

How has PIH’s partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute helped improve cancer care?

The partnership with the BWH and DFCI is the key to our success. I like to tell our patients that even though they can only see our local team, there is an even bigger team of experts working on their cases. The BWH/DFCI provides ongoing support to our program. The pathology lab of the BWH processes all our samples with no cost, which is vital for the diagnosis and treatment of patients. This level of pathology services is not available anywhere in Haiti.

We hold weekly calls with DFCI-affiliated oncologists to discuss patient care. Each week we review individual patient cases to determine care plans and monitor progress.

DFCI also allowed us to extend our psychosocial team by supporting the salary of an assistant social worker. They continue to support us financially, providing essential tools and programmatic support. They also facilitated the process to have another internist working in the program.

What makes this program unusual?

We are the only center in the country to provide free cancer care and also the only hospital to offer comprehensive cancer care, including palliative care and psycho-social support. We provide the highest quality of cancer care anywhere in the country, and we do so for free.

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