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...
Jun 12, 2014

Support children in Malawi - June 2011 Update

With your support, PIH/Malawi—Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo (APZU) can provide the necessary resources for children like Annie and Mary to attend school, where they develop the skills that can ultimately lift them out of poverty.  Thank you for your generosity and for making this work possible. 

Annie and Mary, classmates in Form 2 at Chifunga Day School Secondary School, in Lower Neno, are both recipients of POSER school support. They are from farming families whose livelihood comes from maize and groundnuts and have 5 and 6 other siblings. They are both only able to be in secondary school because of POSER’s involvement in their lives. As Annie says, “In my family there are [currently] three children in secondary school, so it would be very hard for my parents to pay school fees for me.” Mary notes that it is helpful not only to have fees the paid, but also to receive materials. 

They both aspire to become nurses at university after completing secondary school in Chifunga, where Biology and Physical Sciences are favorite subjects. Mary explains that “I work hard at school … so that I can assist patients.” 

Jun 4, 2014

PIH Cholera Response in Haiti - June 2014 Update

We are so grateful for your support of Partners In Health and our work to prevent and treat cholera in Haiti. We are pleased to share a brief update around some of the current successes and challenges that our colleagues are seeing on the ground in Haiti.  

Since January, the number of cholera cases and fatalities have decreased across PIH's 11 facilities in Haiti, but the epidemic continues to sicken thousands across the country, hitting the most vulnerable populations the hardest--like malnourished children who have low immunity. With rainy season quickly approaching, the need for basic treatment and prevention tools has never been greater.  

Below is an excerpt from a New York Times article authored by Randal C. Archibold and Somini Sengupta, discussing the current situation in Haiti, and citing examples of how PIH's approach is working: 

 

The United Nations raised barely a fourth of the $38 million it needed last year to provide lifesaving supplies, including the most basic, like water purification tablets. Clinics have run short of oral rehydration salts to treat the debilitating diarrhea that accompanies the disease. Some treatment centers in the countryside have shut down as the aid groups that ran them have moved on to other crises. And a growing share of patients are dying after they finally reach hospitals, according to the United Nations’ own assessments.

Josilia Fils-Aime, 11, who lives in this village on an isolated spit of land near the Artibonite River, where the epidemic first began, knows these shortcomings all too well. Her family had run out of water purification tablets, and she drank water from what must have been a polluted stream nearby.

“I felt dizzy and sick,” the girl said. She was struck by sudden vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors diagnosed cholera.

Her predicament has multiplied across Haiti, which has had the most cholera cases in the world for three years in a row.

The United Nations has yet to raise the $5 million necessary to vaccinate 600,000 vulnerable people right away — as the rainy season approaches and the threat of waterborne illnesses like cholera looms — let alone the $2 billion that it promised to raise from rich countries to build Haiti’s water and sanitation infrastructure, which public health experts say is vital to ridding the country of cholera.

Pedro Medrano Rojas, the United Nations secretary general’s newly appointed envoy for the cholera outbreak, attributed the shortfall to global “donor fatigue” in the face of other humanitarian crises.

“Had we had the resources it would have been different,” Mr. Medrano said. “It’s not expensive. No one should be dying from cholera.”

Since the outbreak began in October 2010, 8,562 people in Haiti have died of cholera. New infections have declined, following the typical trajectory of an epidemic, from a peak of more than 350,000 reported cases in 2011 to a little more than 50,000 cases in 2013.

The United Nations is essential to solving the problem because, like many of the country’s institutions since the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s own health care system remains in shambles. Clean drinking water and sanitation remain as scarce as when the epidemic began. And where international nonprofit groups, along with the government, once operated 120 cholera treatment centers across the nation, the number has shrunk to barely 40 as aid groups have pulled out.

Perhaps that most troubling measure of all is the rising percentage of cholera patients who die in the treatment facilities that remain. As the United Nations mission said in its report to the Security Council in March, “That reflects weaknesses in the capacity of health centers to provide timely and adequate health services to patients affected by cholera and the longer travel time required for treatment as a result of the closure of many cholera treatment centers.”

Josilia Fils-Aime, for instance, most likely survived because Partners in Health, a nonprofit that has worked in Haiti for years, opened a satellite clinic near her home. The next closest cholera treatment center would have required a two-hour trek, including a boat ride.

“In any other country, you would declare it a humanitarian disaster,” said Dr. Louise Ivers, a health policy adviser for Partners in Health. “What’s going to happen when the rainy season starts?”

By Mr. Medrano’s estimates, as many as 40,000 people could become infected once the clouds break and the rivers swell.

Haiti’s cholera outbreak has spread to three countries across the region: the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico. The fatality rates have been much lower in those countries, which have far better public health systems; it is a measure of how easy it can be to treat the disease.

May 21, 2014

University Hospital in Haiti - May 2014 Update

Patients with Broken Necks Heal at University Hospital in Haiti

Below is the story of a 48-year-old farmer who fell out of a tree while he was cutting a branch to sell as firewood. Because of your support, he was able to seek the care that he needed at University Hospital in Mirebalais. Thank you. 

Marcenne Desanm, 48, from Savanette Cabral

I am a farmer who lives in Savanette Cabral. I have a wife and eight kids—seven are in primary school and one is in secondary school. I grow grain, corn, and plantains, and sell wood.

The accident occurred when I climbed a tree to cut off a branch to sell the wood. I stood on a lower branch and was sawing a branch above me. When the branch broke, it didn't fall on the ground; instead, it fell on me and crushed me in between the two branches. My stomach was bleeding and I was completely stuck. My wife saw me and cried for help; my neighbors then rushed to my assistance. They climbed the tree and pulled the branch off of me, but when they did this I fell backward onto the ground and broke my neck. I lost consciousness.

I live a two-hour walk from the closest road, so my neighbors had to put me on a stretcher and carry me to the road where the ambulance could meet them. I came to HUM and spent 13 days in the emergency room. They put a catheter in me and took care of my wounds where the branch had crushed me.

I went down to Bernard Mevs with Luther and Jacky and had the collar placed on my neck. I came back to the hospital and stayed for four more days. For the next few months while I am recovering I am renting a house in Cange, because my house in Savanette is too far from the road for me to walk to return for consultations. An ambulance now comes to pick me up at my rented house whenever I have an appointment and takes me home afterward. Two of my kids and my wife are staying with me too.

They took great care of me from the moment I arrived. God put me here with these doctors. I don't feel too bad anymore. I used to have problems sleeping, but now I just sleep sitting up or leaning on my hand, and it doesn't feel too bad. I can also now stand up from a chair by myself! I hope to return to work after the collar is taken off, but I will follow whatever instructions the doctors give me. I have so much hope in life now. I just hope that I will be able to continue working so that I can provide for my family.

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