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...
Nov 12, 2014

University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti Nov. 2014

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

(MIREBALAIS, HAITI - MAY 2014: A busy afternoon in the University Hospital emergency room.)

Thanks for your support of Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante and our work to provide high-quality care at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti!   I am delighted to share the following update on our increased capacity to provide emergency care at the hospital's Emergency Department: 

PIH/ZL is committed to making sure that every patient benefits from timely and effective care. We know that poverty puts Haitians at greater risk of needing emergency medicine – unmanaged chronic conditions, farming injuries, and increasing traffic accidents on newly improved roads are responsible for the high number of ER visits. 

That is why PIH/ZL designed an integrated emergency department with the capacity to respond immediately to critically ill medical and trauma patients 24 hours a day. PIH/ZL recently introduced triage to the emergency room so that patients are prioritized by acuity rather than complaint. Staff are being trained to reassess patient flow and bed management to ensure maximal efficiency. Beginning just last month, University Hospital began offering its first residency and certification programs in emergency medicine.

The capacity of University Hospital to respond swiftly to emergencies is an indication of the overall health of University Hospital’s systems. The emergency department is a test of system functioning because it requires collaboration with blood banks and other specialists across departments. If trained staff and triage systems are not in place, the increasing number of patients with complex, trauma-related injuries, like Guerrier, will not survive.

 Guerrier, 21, from Mirebalais

“I was in a tap-tap [local informal bus] on the way to PAP when the brakes stopped working. The car flipped on its side and during the crash I broke my neck. An ambulance arrived and brought me to the ER at University Hospital. I was in the ER from Thursday to Monday. On Monday afternoon I went down to PAP in an ambulance with Dr. Ward and Dr. Jacky. They put the collar on me and I returned to University Hospital the same day. I was able to return to my house the next day.

Now I sometimes get headaches on my right forehead but overall I don't have too much pain. I come for a consultation once a month and will take the collar off after three months, or earlier, if Dr. Luther says it is okay.

You never expect an accident like that to happen. I found really good care here, and I think this collar will help me return to the way I was before the accident. I'm in my last year of high school and hoping to go to university next year. I also love to play soccer and am hoping that one day I'll be able to play again.”

Guerrier came to University Hospital with severe spinal injuries. The emergency department quickly diagnosed his injuries using a CT scanner and determined that a halo collar was needed; but, University Hospital did not have the halo collar needed to begin treatment on hand.  PIH/ZL procured two collars from Boston Children’s Hospital and located a Haitian neurosurgeon in Port-au-Prince (PAP) that could perform his life-saving surgery.

Oct 27, 2014

MMRP October 2014 Update

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

Thank you for supportering Partners In Health's Maternal Mortality Reduction Project in Lesotho. With help from supporters like yourself, Partners In Health Lesotho (PIHL) has succeeded in achieving the following program objectives in its catchment area:

  • Increase villagers’ awareness of sexual and reproductive health care services through robust community outreach performed by Maternal Health Workers (MHW).
  • Increase women’s access to family planning and reduce the number of high-risk pregnancies.
  • Increase the number of pregnant women who go to the health center for an initial comprehensive antenatal care (ANC) visit.
  • Reduce the number of women lost to follow-up after their first ANC visit through counselling and accompaniment by MHW.
  • Increase the number of pregnant women who know their HIV status and are empowered to make informed choices about care and treatment.
  • Increase enrollment in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services for HIV-positive pregnant women (including anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and post-natal prophylaxis as appropriate).
  • Increase the number of women who deliver at the health center with assistance from a skilled health care worker.

Through this work, PIHL has successfully scaled up the Maternal Mortality Reduction Project across the entire PIHL network and extended access to health care to many of the most vulnerable women and children in rural Lesotho.

Maternal Health Workers are key to the program’s success – they accompany women throughout their pregnancies, promote testing and treatment for infectious diseases, and ensure attendance at prenatal appointments. Importantly, MHWs also support women and families to make the choice to deliver at a health facility with skilled health professionals, which reduces the risk of maternal and neonatal deaths due to emergency obstetric complications. MHWs continue to receive monthly, performance-based compensation for their work and monthly trainings by PIHL staff. 

Mary (pictured above) is a 37 year old nurse-midwife that has been working with PIHL for ten years. She’s the lead on-site clinician at Tlhanyaku Health Center; she juggles a multitude of medical tasks while simultaneously providing administrative and logistical support to PIHL. The clinic she works at is located in one of the most remote regions – it is three hours from the nearest referral hospital. As Mary explains, “Our country is so mountainous. Doing outreach and home visits to some areas is difficult as the cars cannot reach those areas, hence we travel by horses or on foot.” She and her colleagues are improving health outcomes for women and newborns and catalyzing national system change. The MMRP is delivering real results. As she proudly reports, “Our efforts to stop HIV transmission are well coordinated. From a mother’s first antenatal care visit at which she’s tested for HIV, we accompany families. We provide education and support, and we continue to follow up with them.”

Oct 9, 2014

PIH Cholera Response in Haiti - Oct 2014 Update

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

Photo: Carline, 29, received treatment for cholera at a Partners In Health cholera treatment center in Mirebalais, Haiti, in March.

We thank you for supporting Partners In Health and our work to treat and prevent cholera in Haiti.  Below is an overview of our work since the outbreak began, as reported by Cate Oswald, Senior Program Manager for Parters In Health in Haiti.   Your continued support allows us to address the ongoing needs of patients across Haiti.  Often it is a very small amount of money that is required to save the life of someone infected with cholera.    

Comprehensive Cholera Response in Haiti
Cate Oswald, April 2014

Since cholera was introduced to Haiti in October 2010, it has killed more than 8,500 people, sickened more than 700,000, and become one of the world’s largest epidemics in recent history. To date, Partners In Health (PIH) and our Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante (ZL) have treated more than 105,000 cases in the Central Plateau, representing almost one-sixth of total cholera cases in Haiti. PIH/ZL has also worked in partnership with the nonprofit GHESKIO to vaccinate nearly 100,000 people in the first-ever oral cholera vaccine campaign in Haiti.

As it is clear that cholera is in Haiti for the long term, PIH/ZL remains committed to a comprehensive strategy for cholera prevention and treatment. With a main focus on providing high-quality treatment and care, our strategy has incorporated public education; aggressive case finding; oral cholera vaccine implementation; improved access to clean water and proper sanitation; and advocacy of stronger international policies and funding accessibility for cholera treatment and prevention in Haiti.

PIH/ZL is deeply committed to doing whatever it takes to stem the tide of cholera in Haiti. Each day, our community teams distribute chlorine solution so that people can treat their water, and our staff of dedicated doctors, nurses, cooks, cleaners, and infection control specialists work to prevent new infections and deaths from cholera. PIH/ZL maintains a level of preparedness, in the form of clinical staff and treatment supplies, to respond to spikes in cholera cases within our service area and ensure that all new cases are diagnosed and treated. We continue to provide cholera treatment services in the form of acute diarrheal disease units at each of the public hospitals where we work in conjunction with the MSPP.

Truly bringing an end to cholera in Haiti will require a coordinated effort: the government, private sector, and public sector must invest together in a comprehensive response, including long-term improvements in water and sanitation. PIH/ZL is dedicated to continuing advocacy efforts with governments and multilateral organizations to work toward a long-term solution for water security and infrastructure in Haiti, as well as disseminating far and wide the news of our successful efforts to comprehensively combat cholera. Research reporting the resultsof PIH’s cholera vaccination project in Haiti was recently published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

 Despite the fact that international funding for cholera prevention and treatment has diminished, we anticipate that health facilities will continue to see more cases and more deaths from cholera, particularly in rural areas. PIH/ZL continues to seek dedicated funding to ensure that we are able to maintain our comprehensive approach, prevent unnecessary deaths, and build on the progress Haiti has made in combating the cholera epidemic.

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