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...
Oct 22, 2010

PIH responds to cholera outbreak in Haiti

A cholera epidemic has broken out in the Lower Artibonite region of Haiti. As of Friday morning, October 22, more than 2,000 cases and 140 deaths had been reported. PIH has rushed clinical reinforcements and supplies to the region and has mounted a massive community education and mobilization campaign. Community health workers are fanning out throughout the area to distribute oral rehydration salts and soap and to warn people of the need to drink only clean or purified water and wash their hands frequently—the two keys to preventing further spread of the disease.

Starting on Tuesday evening, patients suffering from acute watery diarrhea began arriving at Hôpital Saint Nicolas in St. Marc, which PIH operates in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health. By Thursday evening the hospital in St. Marc was overflowing with over 500 patients, of whom 12 had died. Another 437 patients were taken in between 6:00 Thursday evening and 5:00 Friday morning. Other hospitals in the Lower Artibonite region—including PIH facilities in Petite Riviere and Verettes—also reported large numbers of patients with similar symptoms and high mortality rates.

Although the diagnosis of cholera was not confirmed until Friday morning, PIH, the Ministry of Health, and other partner organizations had already launched urgent treatment and prevention efforts. The most effective treatment for both cholera and other acute diarrheal diseases is oral rehydration; and prevention hinges on providing access to clean water.

Zanmi Lasante dispatched reinforcements for both the clinical and community outreach efforts from our team in Port au Prince and our facilities in the Central Plateau. And several longstanding partner organizations have rallied to support PIH and the Ministry of Health on both fronts. Operation Blessing, which has worked closely with PIH to provide clean water in settlements around Port-au-Prince, rushed to St. Marc to help. Two branches of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-Spain and MSF-Belgium) deployed clinical team reinforcements to St. Marc and Petite Riviere, where they are taking the lead in setting up systems to separate cholera cases from non-cholera cases.

Lack of access to clean water has long been a major threat to public health throughout Haiti. Zanmi Lasante has worked with partner organizations to combat the problem on many fronts:

  • at the household level—by building and supplying filtration systems to households in isolated areas;
  • at the community level—by constructing spring caps and piping water to kiosks for use by local residents; and
  • at the national and international level—by advocating for changes of policy and commitment of resources to make clean water available to all as a fundamental human right. In a study published in 2007, PIH documented the damage to public health caused by a 10-year delay in disbursing loans that had already been approved for construction of water improvement projects in several Haitian communities, including St. Marc. Learn more.

As we work urgently to treat cholera patients and halt the epidemic before it can spread to the crowded settlements around Port au Prince, PIH will continue to emphasize that strengthening public infrastructure, especially the water supply, must be a top priority in post-earthquake reconstruction efforts.

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Aug 25, 2010

1,191 new children enrolled in nutrition program

Facts - Children
Facts - Children's Health and Malnutrition

The health of children has always been one of Zanmi Lasante’s central concerns, as children are often the most vulnerable to falling ill in the impoverished communities we serve. Of every 1,000 children born in Haiti, 72 of those young boys and girls will die before the age of 5. In the US that number is 8. Following the earthquake, PIH/ZL knew that sick and malnourished children would comprise a large portion of the patients in need of our services. So the team focused on strengthening pediatric and nutrition services at both our existing facilities in the Central Plateau and Artibonite regions, and in the new clinics serving displaced survivors in Port-au-Prince.

An estimated 40 percent of the 146,940 patient encounters logged thus far at the PIH/ZL clinics at the four settlement camps in the capital city were with patients under the age of 20, and roughly half of these were with children under the age of 5. Many of the illnesses these young people present with are related to malnutrition. In response, the team significantly bolstered its pediatric malnutrition program. Over the past 6 weeks, they’ve enrolled 1,191 children, and have distributed Nourimil* and Nourimanba**, locally produced highly nutritious therapeutic foods. So far, 12,255 pounds of Nourimil and 2,016 pounds of Nourimanba have been distributed.

To support mothers caring for young children, the PIH/ZL clinics located in the spontaneous settlements, in partnership with UNICEF, set up special tents. Here, mothers can receive education on nursing and nutrition, weigh and monitor their baby’s progress, and, if needed, receive infant formula. So far, these tents have logged roughly 2,600 visits.

Many families in the Central Plateau and Artibonite regions have taken in relatives and friends fleeing from the chaos of Port-au-Prince. With support from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), ZL’s existing clinics in these regions have expanded their pediatric nutrition program to help local households affected by the earthquake, with the goal of eventually expanding its capacity to treat an additional 2,200 children, growing by over 30 percent.

ZL’s hospital in Boucan Carre, roughly 2 hours by car north of Port-au-Prince, has already logged a spike in the number of children enrolling in their program. “Since the earthquake, we’ve had more children [in the malnutrition program] than we’ve ever had before,” says nurse Thony Magdala, who was recently hired to help manage the growing need. “Every day we are having more and more children coming to the clinic and entering the program.” She estimates about 2-3 children a day on average, but as many as 5-6 on some days. Since she’s started in March, the program has grown from 329 children to over 600. She’s also begun running mobile clinics in some of the remote areas on the fringes of the hospital’s catchment area, all in an effort to help Haiti’s poorest families.

*Nutrient enriched, locally produced mixture of rice, corn, and beans **Nutrient enriched, locally produced peanut butter-based Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF)

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Jul 26, 2010

Stand With Haiti - Six Month Report

SIX MONTH REPORT OVERVIEW

Six months have now passed since a devastating earthquake ripped through Haiti. Every day since January 12, 2010, Partners In Health (PIH) and our sister organization Zanmi Lasante (ZL) have been working to help Haiti's people build their lives and their country back better.

Although not yet fully funded, the Stand With Haiti Fund we established in March has provided PIH and ZL with the resources and the strategic vision to begin the process of building back better in Haiti through a combination of: strengthened clinical services at our existing health centers and hospitals as well as in new facilities; expanded social and economic support programs for the most vulnerable patients and community members where we work; and investments in long-term, strategic revitalization of the public health and medical education systems.

Over the past 26 weeks, our efforts have saved lives through emergency critical care and surgical services; helped seriously injured patients regain mobility; resettled abandoned and disabled children into a safe group home; comforted communities in need of spiritual and emotional solace; and provided strategic planning assistance to Port-au-Prince's General Hospital (HUEH) as well as the Haitian Ministry of Health (MOH) leadership.

Hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors across the Central Plateau and Artibonite Valley regions as well as in four large settlements of displaced people in Port-au-Prince have benefitted from the generosity of all those who supported and continue to give to PIH's Stand With Haiti Fund. This report summarizes what you have helped make possible since that terrible afternoon in January. For more detailed information and multimedia content, please visit www.standwithhaiti.org/six-months.

We have been able to respond to the disaster and embark on the work of building back better thanks to the extraordinary generosity and solidarity of individuals, organizations, and institutions who through June 30 had contributed a total of $85 million, including a substantial sum designated specifically for long-term rebuilding and strengthening Haiti's public health system.

Of that amount, we have expended $26.6 million to date. The table below (see link: PIH Six-Month Report: Overview) presents a summary of how that money has been spent and the graph provides a projection of how we intend to use the remaining $98.4 million of our planned $125 million fund over the next two years. These projections are consistent with the general parameters outlined when the Stand with Haiti Fund was established. They have been and will continue to be refined and adjusted regularly based on our understanding of shifting needs and priorities.

Our work is far from over. The rubble has yet to be fully cleared. More than a million people are still living under tents, tarps, and makeshift shelters in crowded encampments, with limited access to food, water, sanitation, schools, jobs, and social services. Many people are still in pain, hungry, and desperate.

But with over 25 years experience and a local staff of nearly 5,000 people working through an expanding network of public hospitals and health centers, we're committed to continuing to provide quality health care to those who need it most and striving to bring long-term strategic improvements to Haiti's public health and medical education systems. To do this, we will use the same values and approach that have guided our work for many years: solidarity with the Haitian people and the communities in which they live; partnership with the government of Haiti and other institutions and organizations; and a comprehensive vision of what is comprised by health care.

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