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...
Mar 25, 2013

Maternal Mortality Reduction Update - March 2013

Meriam Sesiu Kopeli, Nohana Clinic Site Director
Meriam Sesiu Kopeli, Nohana Clinic Site Director

In February, Partners In Health's Multimedia Director Bec Rollins traveled to Lesotho, where she had the opportunity to visit PIH-L sites and meet women enrolled in the Maternal Mortality Reduction Project, as well as Maternal Health Workers.  I hope that you enjoy Bec's beautiful photographs of some of these women and their babies -- who have access to high-quality pre and postnatal care thanks to your support of the MMRP. Please find descriptions of each photo below.  

1) (Above) February 4, 2013, Nohana, Lesotho, Nohana Clinic Site Director Meriam Sesiu Kopeli holds a healthy baby boy, delivered moments prior to the capture of this photo. The baby is the 5th child of a woman who was accompanied to the clinic on this morning by PIH Maternal Health Worker, Malineo Sethobane Lipeneng. Lipeneng lives in the same village as the mother of the baby, abouy 15 minutes from the clinic, and has attended all 5 of the woman's pregnancies.  

In order below:

2) February 4, 2013, Nohana, Lesotho, Malineo Sethobane Lipeneng is a Maternal Mortality Reduction Program worker - also known as Maternal Health Worker - who brought a woman from a village about 15 minutes away to the clinic on this morning to deliver her 5th child. Lipeneng attended all 5 of the woman's pregnancies. On this day a healthy baby boy was born.

3) February 4, 2013, Bobete, Lesotho, Women and their infants wait for postnatal care visits at thh PIH funded Bobete Clinic. Women raising their hands in this photo are those who work with Maternal Health Workers and delivered their babies at the Bobete clinic.  

4) February 4, 2013, Bobete, Lesotho, Tebatea Taka and her mother (left) wait for postnatal care at the PIH funded Bobete Clinic. Tebatea was born on 01.26.13. Her mother carried her to Bobete from the village of Mpokochela. Baby girl Letsaba Molokhene is held by her mother Masetsaba (RIGHT) as they also wait for their postnatal appointment. Letsaba was born on 01.11.13. The family lives in the village of Mpokochela. Letsaba's mother was accompanied to the Bobete clinic to deliver by a PIH Maternal Health Worker.  

5) February 4, 2013, Nohana, Lesotho, Maternal Mortality Reduction Program workers - also known as Maternal Health Workers - gather for their weekly meeting at the PIH funded Nohana Clinic. 

Malineo Sethobane Lipeneng, MMRP Worker
Malineo Sethobane Lipeneng, MMRP Worker
Postnatal care in Bobete
Postnatal care in Bobete
Maternal Health Workers
Maternal Health Workers
Mar 7, 2013

Childhood Malnutrition in Haiti: March 2013 Update

Haiti, Three Years after the Earthquake

Posted to the PIH website on January 11, 2013 

Three years ago, Haiti experienced a devastating 7.0 earthquake that killed nearly 300,000 people and shattered the country’s infrastructure.

We remember and mourn those who were killed—friends and colleagues, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters—as well as those who continue to suffer its effects.

Since then, Partners In Health and its Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante (ZL) have continued to provide health care to hundreds of thousands of people, including earthquake survivors, with the help of our supporters and partners. We created the Stand With Haiti Fund to address the immediate needs of victims and to work alongside the Haitian government to build and renovate the country’s public health infrastructure, strengthen its public medical education system, and expand PIH’s programs for community development and poverty alleviation.

PIH has fulfilled its pledge to spend the $123 million raised after the earthquake on these efforts. While there is much still to do, the following are examples of some of our work in Haiti.

Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM)

PIH completed construction of the $17 million, 300-bed national public teaching hospital that will open in March 2013. Located 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, the hospital will provide primary care services to nearly 185,000 people in Mirebalais and central Haiti, and provide advanced care to patients who are referred to HUM from community hospitals throughout the Central Plateau and Artibonite departments, as well as parts of Port-au-Prince. The teaching hospital will eventually employ up to 800 Haitian staff and serve as the first university teaching hospital in central Haiti, providing residencies and clinical rotations for Haiti’s national medical and nursing schools.

In addition, the hospital’s 1,800 solar panels will produce 100 percent of its energy needs during peak daylight hours and feed surplus energy back into the grid, the first agreement of its kind with Électricité d’Haïti.

HUM is PIH’s largest undertaking to date and will improve both the standard of health care for Haitians and strengthen Haiti’s public health infrastructure.

Mental Health Care

PIH responded to the psychological needs of Haitians affected by the earthquake by more than doubling the size of its mental health and psychosocial support team. This work is supported by a recent $1.5 million Grand Challenges Canada grant to improve mental health care in countries affected by disaster and poverty.

In 2013, PIH will train community health workers to identify and support people suffering from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress, and refer them to appropriate medical facilities. A pilot program will also incorporate the use of mobile phones by community health workers to diagnose and refer patients. The new program will develop a decentralized model of mental health care to be expanded nationally in Haiti.

Oral Cholera Vaccine Campaign

Cholera has killed 7,750 people in Haiti since October 2010. In spring 2012, PIH successfully pioneered Haiti’s first oral cholera vaccine, delivering vaccines to nearly 100,000 people in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and the nonprofit organization GHESKIO. Since then, the World Health Organization has called for the creation of a global stockpile of 2 million doses of the vaccine.

The United Nations recently included the use of the vaccine as part of a $2.2 billion plan to eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Dr. Paul Farmer, PIH co-founder and U.N. Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti, has been appointed U.N. Special Advisor for Community-Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti as part of this cholera elimination plan.

Treating Malnutrition

In partnership with Abbott Laboratories and the Abbott Fund, PIH will open a new production facility in early 2013 to combat the long-standing challenges of malnutrition. Located in Corporant, the facility will be used to produce a minimum of 60 tons of Nourimanba (a ready-to-use therapeutic food) to treat up to 6,000 cases of pediatric malnutrition in its first year.

The factory will create dozens of jobs and provide a guaranteed market for more than 250 local peanut farmers. This project also will be integrated into PIH’s agricultural initiatives to improve local farmers’ skills and expertise and strengthen their ability to supply the facility with a reliable supply of high-quality peanuts. Nourimanba has been locally produced and distributed by PIH on a smaller scale since 2006.

Our work of accompaniment is not over. We will continue to provide high-quality care to our patients, and to work with the Haitian government and communities to build and strengthen public health systems. As we remember those who lost their lives, we stand in solidarity with the millions of Haitians who are rebuilding their country, while also mobilizing around all that is left to do.



Feb 11, 2013

Equip Mirebalais Hospital - Feb. 2013 Update

credit: Daniel Wallace, Times 2010
credit: Daniel Wallace, Times 2010

The following article written by Dan DeWitt was published by the Tampa Bay Times on January 9, 2013:

In Haiti, Paul Farmer's charity Partners in Health makes a difference

I don't blame anyone who has tuned out anniversary coverage of the catastrophic earthquake that destroyed large parts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12, 2010.

I don't even hold it against media outlets that there really hasn't been much coverage, at least so far.

That's because the one report I have read — by Deborah Sontag of the New York Times ( — doesn't really read like a news story, but like a long, exhaustively researched version of the same old story.

Of the billions of dollars nations and aid agencies pledged for earthquake recovery, too much still sits in bank accounts or exists only as budgetary line items.

Too many earthquake victims still live under tarps. Too few live in solid homes. Very little has been done to bring lasting benefit to the people of Haiti.

It's enough to make a travesty of former President Bill Clinton's famous pledge to "build back better."

It's enough to make anyone cynical about the possibility that charity can help create a strong and independent country.

That's why you might want to click on, the website of Partners in Health, co-founded by Hernando High School grad — and 2008 Great Brooksvillian — Paul Farmer.

Its main post-earthquake project, a new teaching hospital in Mirebalais, 38 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince, was completed in October.

All the things that, according to the Times, have gone wrong with the recovery? In a lot of cases, it seems to me, Partners got them right.

Too much money has been spent — in some cases, out of necessity — on temporary fixes, Sontag wrote.

The hospital in Mirebalais, on the other hand, will bring the following, long-termbenefits: 300 beds for admitted patients, treatment rooms to handle as many as 500 outpatients per day, employment for about 1,000 people, including 175 community health care workers, and facilities to train future generations of doctors and nurses.

Overall, the Times story said, too much of the recovery money, and too many of the jobs, have been claimed by foreign aid workers; too much of the planning has excluded the Haitian government.

The American contractor who built the Partners hospital, meanwhile, volunteered his services and hired hundreds of paid Haitian construction workers. The expansion of the project — originally imagined as a small regional facility — was requested by the Haitian government. The government will be an equal partner in its operation for the first few years and eventually run it as a national hospital. All but a few of the previously mentioned long-term jobs — including for doctors and nurses — will go to Haitians.

Finally, Sontag tracked the depressing sums that had gone to administration rather than to directly help the earthquake victims. Partners' 2011 tax return, by contrast, shows that about 94 percent of the money it raised was poured into its central mission.

When the hospital was planned, there was a lot of emphasis on creating jobs and institutions outside of congested, chaotic Port-au-Prince, and there is now considerable criticism that much of the rebuilding money has been spent in areas that didn't need rebuilding, at least not because of the earthquake. The Mirebalais hospital has been held out as a prime example of this pattern.

And because of operations money yet to be released from a central recovery fund, the hospital won't be up and running for several more months.

So, yes, I guess you could include it in the long list of unkept post-earthquake promises.

But that's not the way it looks to me when I go to the website and see a modern, fully equipped hospital in a place where a little more than two years ago I saw workers lay a cornerstone in a muddy construction site.

I see a building that will do a huge amount for this community and country, including build pride and independence.

I see a structure that will — or should — shut the mouth of any cynic.

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