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...
Dec 4, 2013

Childhood Malnutrition in Haiti - Dec. 2013 Update

CBS NEWS/CHRISTINA RUFFINI
CBS NEWS/CHRISTINA RUFFINI

Thank you so much for supporting Partners In Health and our Childhood Malnutrition project in Haiti.  With your help, Partners In Health (in partnership with Abbott Laboratories)  recently began operations at a new, state-of-the-art Nourimanba factory, where not only is nutrient-rich therapeutic peanut butter produced for children in Haiti, but also where jobs have been created for locals.   We are thrilled to share the following article published by CBS news on November 14, 2013:

Raising hope, with peanuts, in Haiti

(CBS News) In Haiti's rural provinces, life is sparse, even by local standards. Malnutrition is rampant, and 78 percent of the population survives on less than two dollars a day.

Adremene , however, is the exception. In a country with more than 60 percent unemployment, she has a full-time job. Gracia makes something called Nourimanba, a peanut-based malnutrition cure.

Not only does her work help save starving children, it allows her to support two of her own.

"Just having a stable job is wonderful, for the money and to be able to send my kids to school," she said through a translator, in her native Creole.

  When CBS News visited the Nourimanba project 18 months ago, the facility where Gracia and about 20 other women worked was incredibly basic; everything -- from sorting and roasting, to grinding and jarring -- was done by hand, in a stuffy, windowless room.

 But this summer, the doors opened on a brand new, state-of-the-industry processing plant. The facility includes automated machinery, clean rooms, and a lab to test quality control.

More importantly, the plant meets international food processing standards -- a first for Haiti's central plateau.

"Haiti, after the earthquake, has been one negative story after the next, and now we have a very positive story coming out of a region of Haiti that has lacked economic opportunity for centuries," said John , who manages this project for the non-profit Partners in Health.

PIH is the largest non-governmental healthcare provider in Haiti. Last year, its facilities treated 2.8 million patients nationwide. Four years ago, PIH teamed up with Chicago-based healthcare company Abbott Laboratories, bringing private sector knowledge to what had already been a successful, public-sector program.

Kathy Pickus, head of Abbott's philanthropic ventures, said the partnership has allowed the Nourimanba project to thrive and expand far beyond what was initially thought possible.

"This facility has caused a ripple effect in terms of growth and development," Pickus said. "It's creating jobs that we couldn't anticipate, and it will do even more so, as we start to increase demand."

The new plant has drastically increased production, churning out more than 6,000 kilograms -- about 6.5 tons -- of Nourimamba in just the first few months.

To meet its new demand, the facility needed to bring in more raw materials, namely a larger supply of local Haitian peanuts, which isn't always available.

The peanut crop in Haiti is small and unpredictable. Although most rural Haitians depend on small-scale, subsistence farming, there is very little formal agricultural training. The majority of farmers go it alone, and many of them fail.

"When we first started looking at the equation in terms of how many peanuts we'd need for Nourimanba to meet demand, as well as to think about a commercial strategy going forward, we realized we had to make an investment in the peanut sector," Pickus said.

With the help of agricultural consultants Tecnhoserve, PIH and Abbott started training about 200 local Haitian farmers in how to grow larger, healthier peanuts.

Dan Schmidz, a nutritional scientist with Abbott, said that, as the supply chain expands, so will the industrial impact.

"It's creating a micro economy," he said. "We're already seeing sort of the evolution of a peanut industry, which doesn't exist currently in Haiti."

Before he joined the program, peanut farmer Gustave Esteme said things were terrible. Now, after being taught how to cultivate and space his plants, he said he's growing three times as much -- enough to feed his seven children three meals a day instead of two.

"With the program, it's really much better," he said. "I will stay with it until the end of time."

Haitian peanut farmer Gustave Esteme (pictured with his family) said new agricultural methods have helped him increase his crop yield substantially.

 The increased crop production has also brought small business opportunities. From couriers to collection centers, local entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the larger yields.

Joseph Roland used to be a teacher, but with the help of a micro-loan and training from Technoserve, he traded in his blackboard for a gas-powered tiller. Most Haitian farmers still use oxen and wooden plows, but Roland's machine is faster and more effective.

"With this program, we help many people," he said. "I make more money, and I make a bigger difference tending the soil than I did in the classroom."

Although Nourimanba is given out for free at PIH clinics, the new production plant has the potential to make peanut butter and other commercially-sold foods. The hope is that profits from those items will eventually fund the facility, allowing the plant and the resulting industry to become self-sustaining.

"Every aspect of this project is important," said Lascher. "It's going to help farmers; it's going to help children get therapeutic food; and it's also providing jobs and training that never existed in this region."

Jobs that, hopefully, will continue to grow along with the crops.

Links:

Nov 6, 2013

Support children in rural Malawi, Nov. 2013 Update

Thank you so much for your support of Partners In Health's project: Support School Costs for Children in Rural Malawi on GlobalGiving.  We are excited to share the story below with our generous donors like yourself who have helped to provide the resources that are benefitting children and their families in the communities that we work with. 

Kenneth Chiwaya, a student in Form 4 from Donda village in Neno, Malawi, is looking forward to graduating from secondary school in June of 2014. He is 23 years old and has only been able to attend school because of school support provided by Abewenzi Pa Za Umoyo’s Program on Social and Economic Rights. As Kenneth puts it “I am thankful to PIH because I am able to learn everything and I am able to go every day to school. Nothing is … making me go work instead of to school.”  He lives with his sister and his grandmother and the family, which turns to the APZU-supported Neno District Hospital for its medical and health needs, has also received support from APZU to renovate their house. Kenneth, appreciating the holistic approach that POSER takes to supporting patients and their families, says the house renovation “has helped us with our life development. Now the house doesn’t leak”

 POSER reaches 2,000 vulnerable children in the district each year through its school support initiative. 200 of these are secondary school students, like Kenneth, who, without the support of POSER, would be unable to enroll in school due to school and exam fees.  These students, in addition to the fee payments to their schools, also receive uniforms, math instruments, rulers, notebooks, and pens. Staff members also build strong connections with the students to support their psychosocial health and provide mentorship and support.

 APZU will continue to welcome donations to cover the costs of school fees and materials for secondary school students and looks forward to sharing another report in early 2014. Zikomo kwambiri to everyone who has supported this project! You are helping to make a critical difference for children in Neno. 

Nov 6, 2013

Mirebalais Hospital in Haiti, Nov. 2013 Update

Michelle Morse/PIH
Michelle Morse/PIH

We are thrilled to share the following story, posted on the Partners In Health website in October, when 14 Haitian physician trainees began their medical residencies at University Hospital in Mirebalais.  Thanks to your support, University Hospital is now home to a promising new -- and growing -- workforce of specialized clinicians in Haiti. 

On April 28, Dr. Paul Farmer stood before a microphone in a large conference room in Haiti's University Hospital.

Several days before, bomb blasts at the marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, had killed three people, but not a single person who made it to a hospital died. In that grim emergency, teaching hospitals made a difference, Farmer told the crowd.

“I love working at a great Boston teaching hospital, Brigham and Women’s. I love being able to train the next generation of physicians and nurses. And I want Haiti to have something like it, too,” Farmer said.

This month, University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, took a significant step toward becoming the teaching hospital envisioned after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, which devastated the country’s already-fragile medical infrastructure. On Oct. 1, the hospital’s first medical residents—all young Haitian doctors—began hands-on training in pediatrics, general surgery, and internal medicine.

The application process was intensive and merit-based: 238 people applied and took an entrance exam. Of those, 45 were interviewed, and 14 were selected. Class members hail from all over Haiti. Some studied at Haiti’s state medical school or private schools in Port-au-Prince; others went to the Dominican Republic. Some just graduated from medical school and completed their social service year; others have been practicing for a few years. By coincidence, the class is evenly split between men and women.

Dr. Jean-Louis Willy Fils, 29, from the northern city of Cap-Haïtien, has wanted to be a doctor for as long as he can remember. He describes surgery as his “true vocation,” so to be selected for a University Hospital residency was more than he hoped for.

“One year ago, I couldn't have even imagined learning surgery in a hospital with an international standard of quality, for the good reason that such a hospital didn't exist in the country yet,” Fils said. “That's the proof that great things can be done in Haiti.”

Over the next several years, these 14 doctors will receive instruction from Haitian and foreign physicians—some of whom are faculty at the same teaching hospital where Farmer trained and now teaches. The curriculum for their training was developed through special working groups and designed to follow the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International’s (ACGME-I) standards.

After completing orientation this month, residents will begin caring for patients as well as rotating in departments such as emergency medicine, TB/HIV clinic, and oncology. Each day, they will spend an hour in special education sessions for residents, and once or twice per week they will be on call throughout the night. They will also conduct research to improve the quality of care. The ACGME-I guidelines require they work no more than 80 hours a week, but they’ll probably come close.

"The residency program at University Hospital represents the most serious attempt, to my knowledge and during my lifetime, to systematically create a critical mass of Haitian physician specialists that will have the opportunity to be fully useful to all Haitians," said Dr. Pierre Paul, PIH senior advisor. He added that he and his physician colleagues have traditionally questioned the poor outcomes of Haiti's health sector, but now feel questioned themselves about their responsibility to improve health care in Haiti. "University Hospital and its new residency program stand as formidable evidence of the efforts that young Haitian health professionals are making to restore, in a sustainable way, hope and dignity in the future of health in Haiti."

As new classes of residents begin each fall, the number of physician trainees will double and triple. And the programs will expand to include other health professionals, such as nurse anesthetists and other nurse specialists, as well as more medical specialties—such as emergency medicine—which would be the first such training program in the country.

In addition to hands-on training, the curriculum includes lessons on social medicine and the root causes of disease, such as poverty, which have been part of PIH’s work since its early days in Haiti. The programs are designed to train and retain a new generation of doctors to the poor who work outside of Port-au-Prince, the traditional mecca for medical training.

“We envision a workforce of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who are driven by medical excellence and committed to high-quality care for all Haitians,” said Michelle Morse, PIH deputy chief medical officer for Haiti. “The start of these residencies brings Haiti one step closer to this vision.”

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