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...
Jan 30, 2015

Childhood Malnutrition in Haiti - Jan 2015 Update

Thanks so much for choosing to support Partners In Health and our work to combat pediatric malnutrition in Haiti.  We're happy to share progress made over the last year.

Partners In Health has strategically invested in Haiti’s Central Plateau over the past 25 years to comprehensively address the root causes of poverty and disease. Establishing a Nourimanba production facility in Haiti was critical to PIH's multi-pronged approach to addressing pediatric malnutrition. Our experiences in the last two years have clearly shown that as it gets to scale, the Nourimanba production facility will continue to  provide reliable, high-quality, and economical therapeutic food that also provides economic opportunity for Haitian farmers. This will have a transformative impact for children’s health in our service area. We are committed to treating the effects of malnutrition in the short term, while simultaneously contributing to an infrastructure that can support long-term food security.

In 2014, the facility produced 80,000 kilograms of Nourimanba. This exceeds our original goal of 60,000 kilograms for 2014, and was enough to to provide 1,650 full courses of treatment to severely malnourished children through 12 nutritional clinics.

We are now at a place where we can look beyond the first phase of start-up and focus on goal setting for the second phase of our five-year plan for launching the Nourimanba production facility. We deeply appreciate your partnership in this complex fight against malnutrition.

 

Jan 20, 2015

PIH Cholera Response in Haiti - Jan 2015 Update

Photo: Jon Lascher / Partners In Health
Photo: Jon Lascher / Partners In Health

In 2010, Partners In Health responded to the devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti, as well as the subsequent cholera outbreak. Above, community health workers conduct public outreach as part of the cholera vaccination campaign.

Thank you for supporting Partners In Health and our work to eradicate cholera in Haiti.  Below is a reflection written by PIH/Haiti staff member Ralph Ternier, 5 years after the earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak.  Your support enables us to continue making progress and saving lives in Haiti. 

Ralph Ternier is director of community care and support at Zanmi Lasante, Partners In Health’s sister organization in Haiti. Here he reflects on his experiences during the country’s earthquake in 2010—and the five years since.

A few days ago we celebrated the 211th anniversary of the famous Haitian Independence Day. This tiny land of contradiction has witnessed stunning and unfortunate events over the last two centuries. Some people keep saying the nation is damned; others who are attached to the country speak of hope, solidarity, and compassion, especially after having faced one of history’s most destructive and deadly earthquakes.

In a few days we will remind ourselves how fragile and precious life can be. For many years into the future we will tell our grandchildren about that day of sorrow. Some might refuse to believe such a narrative. Even I was incredulous toward what the Dominican taxi driver told me that Tuesday evening five years ago.

I had left Haiti to go to the Dominican Republic at 4:30 p.m. on January 12—20 minutes before my people plunged into the deepest desperation. I returned to Haiti two days later in a small airplane with two Partners In Health colleagues. From the sky I could watch the chaos on the ground—people with their belongings running away from death, an abyss of curse.

From that day on, we spent the whole year rescuing, saving, and relieving as many as possible, guided by one label: TNTC (too numerous to count). Then the first cholera epidemic in the country’s history hit, stressing and weakening the health system further.

But always there is opportunity.

We have learned particularly in this last decade that all these unfortunate events and disasters must be a platform to revitalize the health system. Five years after the terrible earthquake, it is important for us to reflect on our major achievements, impediments, and perspectives.

In addition to the roughly 1 million people that received emergency and general health care, we pride ourselves on the legacy of the teaching hospital in Mirebalais that came from all the international support. During 2010, Zanmi Lasante (ZL) understood that this massive contribution to the public health sector wouldn’t be productive without sustaining the community health structure. Therefore we formalized all ZL community activities through the new department of community care and support.

Very often we ask ourselves how we would adequately fight cholera without these tireless workers who still go door to door to raise awareness of the epidemic and ensure that community members are safe and protected. In many narratives we’ll frequently link cholera and the earthquake: they happened the same year, they created panic and chaos, and they took away so many lives.

But we have become stronger in the wake of these disasters. Our network of community health workers has grown to 350 members, and we now have several thousand accompagnateurs—compared to fewer than 100 before 2010.
Challenges, however, persist. The earthquake destroyed most of the important public health facilities in several departments, especially in West, where the needs of the surrounding population dramatically increased. To respond to these needs, the community network stepped up to expand services, such as rehab and mental health care in the communities.

A few days ago, I drove into the so-called downtown of Port-au-Prince. At points I felt as if I was living in 2010 as rubbles is still piled on many avenues. One of my friends in the car from the diaspora asked me how I kept morale and stayed in the country. With a beaming smile I responded with what someone had told me the day I came back: “This country cannot be worse; it can only be better.”

After five years, everything that we are doing for the health system, for the patients, must be better, better than what it was before 2010, better than what it was during the cholera outbreak—better for the sake of our beloved lost during these tragedies.

Dec 30, 2014

Support children in Malawi - Dec. 2014 Update

We are very grateful for your support of Partners In Health and our Malawian sister organization Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo (APZU).  With your partnership, we've been able to continue supporting students in rural Malawi with economic assistance to help pay for costs associated with attending school. During the period of December 2013 – November 2014, we are delighted to report that:

  • 2,016 total students benefitted from POSER. These students are receiving social support from PIH/APZU staff, as well as help with uniforms/shoes, school materials (books, pencils, backpacks, etc.), and tuition/examination fees.
  • 14 female students and 35 male students have received vocational training at Neno Vocational Training Center, where students learn skills in carpentry or sewing/tailoring. Of the 49 total students who have been enrolled this year, 26 have already graduated from the program. Upon successful completion of the carpentry program, graduates receive a set of tools, including hammers, saws, clamps, and other supplies that they’ll need to begin their own carpentry businesses. Sewing/tailoring students can continue to work in a local clothes-making co-op. Since the training center opened in July 2011, most of the students have come from HIV-affected households—either infected with HIV themselves, caring for patients, or orphaned by the disease.

 

POSER Recipient Profile: Alinafe

Alinafe is fifteen years old, and lives in Neno with her parents and eight siblings, including a twin brother. They are a family of farmers—they grow maize—but Alinafe aspires to be a doctor so that she can serve the people of Neno.

This dream was nearly derailed when she reached secondary school. In Malawi, primary school is free, but secondary school requires students to pay tuition. This cost is prohibitive for families like Alinafe’s, contributing to the fact that just 8% of women in Malawi have completed secondary school or beyond.

With POSER’s help, Alinafe has been able to continue her education. Her tuition is paid, and she receives a school uniform and learning materials, as well. Alinafe is thriving as a Form 3 student at Chiwale Secondary School, where her favorite subject is English, and her favorite teacher is Miss Chifwa, who teaches Bible Knowledge. She’ll graduate next year when she completes Form 4. She is appreciative of POSER’s support, and knows that without Partners In Health, she would not be in school.

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