The earthquake may have passed and structures have been rebuilt, but our amazing partner organizations for this GlobalGiving disaster fund appreciate the need for a sustainable haitian future. The flow of recovery has shifted to a need to develop! Our partners recognize this disaster not only as a horrific event but also an opportunity to build a better tomorrow for the Haitian people.
International Medical Corps (IMC) is tackling Haiti’s ongoing cholera outbreaks. They were also there in October 2010 when the outbreaks began right after the quake. Since the earthquake they have been actively seeking out individuals with cholera in Haiti via their mobile medical units. When IMC discovers a patient in need they promptly deploy their mobile units along with their professional medical staff. The northern, rural areas have been most affected by cholera, so logically IMC focuses on this region. Once staff reach the patient they immediately provide care to the ill. Since cholera causes severe dehydration the treatments include Oral Rehydration Salts, aquatabs, and general hygiene improvement. Once the patient is stable, International Medical Corps turns to the individual’s household. They provide sanitation tools to clean the house and they teach proper clean water practices. After the house has been sanitized, IMC turns their attention to the entire community! They rally advocacy networks to spread awareness about cholera and spread campaigns of clean water practices. Obviously IMC is dedicated to providing not just life-saving care but also lasting and sustainable care throughout the entire community!
Big things are happening at Volunteers for Interamerican Development Assistance (VIDA)! Quite literally! Recently, thanks to your awesome donations through this GlobalGiving fund, VIDA has been able to ship massive amounts of medical supplies to St. Damien Pediatric Hospital! This children’s hospital in Port-au-Prince provides free health services to the most impoverished youth of the tiny island nation. This hospital gives children life-saving care that their family would otherwise not have been able to afford, this includes surgery costs and cancer treatments. Thanks to your generous donations VIDA could send 12 pallets worth of medical supply! A special thanks to their shipping partner Otis McAllister! Things that your donations directly funded: patient gowns, surgical gowns, exam gloves, diapers, Stanford Hospital donated exam tables, and CVS donated 50,000 face masks! Like I said, they are doing big things and creating lasting impact! Thanks for making that possible!
While our first two partners focused on healthcare, our third partner, Lambi Fund of Haiti, is making sure citizens stay fed, employed, and sustainable! Lambi has a wide breadth of organizational focus, they span many fields in their work and overall promote social and economic empowerment of the Haitian people. The end of 2013 brought five nursery management trainings, three capacity building and accounting trainings, and two credit fund management trainings. This means that by the end of 2013 at least 150 community members will have participated in a Lambi training or presentation. These people now have skills in community organization, democratic principles, gender equity, reforestation techniques, animal husbandry and many more beneficial practices. These small steps forward are measured in leaps and bounds for the community! This empowerment and teaching strategy will create a brave and lasting Haiti!
While Haiti is still rebuilding, there has been a conscious shift from recovery to sustainable future. Our partners for this fund, with obvious different strategies, all have the same goal of creating a future for the haitian people. These organizations are standout because of their utter dedication to regrowth and forward strides. Once again we thank you for your amazing donations, you are adding to a better world!
Four years have past since the tragic 7.0 magnitutde earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. This disaster took the lives of over 200,000 and affected around three million others. Today I am going to tell you about just one of the amazing projects that have been accomplished thanks to amazing GlobalGivers like you!
Partners in Health strives to bring modern medicine to those less privileged and often most in need of the care. In this particular project they are responding to the medical needs of the 2010 earthquake and subsequent disasters that have struck Haiti. Their most recent report details the journey of the 14 doctors in residence in Haiti’s first ever specialized teaching hospital!
After the 2010 earthquake Partners in Health set out on the huge task to construct a teaching hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti. University Hospital of Mirebalais (HUM) opened in 2012 and welcomed its first class of medical residents in October 2013. In order to qualify for membership in this program the all Haitian doctors had to go through an intensive merit-based application process. 238 people applied and took an entrance exam. Of those, 45 were interviewed, and 14 men and women were selected for the program.
In their several year residence the doctors will participate in hands-on training in pediatrics, general surgery, and internal medicine. They will also rotate departments such as emergency medicine, TB/HIV clinic, and oncology, as well as conduct research to improve the quality of care. The program will also train the doctors in social medicine with regard to the root causes of disease, such as poverty.
This is only the first class of doctors to train outside of Port-au-Prince, the traditional medical training facility. Every fall University Hospital will take a new class of doctors eager to expand the basis of care in Haiti. There are only 25 physicians per 100,000 Haitians. The United States has more than tenfold that number: 280 doctors for every 100,000 Americans. This is why the progress at University Hospital is so important. And it is due to GlobalGivers like you that this progress is possible!
Dr Pierre Paul, PIH senior advisor at HUM, has this to say about the future of the hospital and Haitian medicine: "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."
GlobalGiving and Partners in Health cannot thank you enough for your awesome donations to this project! It is because of you that not only hundreds of lives will be saved, but also the future sustainability of healthcare in Haiti is bright and hopeful!
Greetings from BEAUTIFUL Haiti!
I have had the privilege of living here for the past 3+ months. Residing in Haiti full time certainly has changed my perspective on Haitian development and aid. The perspective I had previously from short trips a week at a time is very different from the reality of living here. But one thing remains, Hope is alive and well in Haiti! This country is Beautiful, not just because of sunsets and sunrises blanketed with high mountains and palm trees or a calendar worthy deserted beach with gently lapping waves… but because the people make it so. Haitians are, by nature, giving, kind, congenial and hard working.
After the earthquake, amidst the chaos, the temporary fix was mass handouts. This was necessary and important for short-term survival, but that time has long since passed. Haitians want and need jobs. With unemployment as high as 80% in some parts of the country, Haitians are looking for training. They want to earn the right to provide for their families, to have a sense of dignity. The focus now for most organizations is long-term sustainability. How does this happen? Providing training and jobs. Haitians are eager to learn and excited to put to practice what they’ve learned.
I spent an afternoon with International Disaster Volunteers and their students at the English in Mind English school. They are a fun bunch if I’ve ever seen one. They are serious about learning English and they have a great time doing it. They incorporate songs, stories and a lot of laughing. This was a refreshing site visit for me because the students wanted to have a Q&A session with me. It was so much fun letting them pick my brain (as they proudly referred to it in English idiom) and allow me to ask questions. They ended the session by asking what advice I would give Haiti regarding “the changes that need to be made”. My reply was simple. We have an America, we have Germany, France, England, et al… We don’t need another one. But we do need a strong Haiti. Make the changes that need to be made regarding infrastructure of the country, but don’t let it change who you are as a culture.
REBUILDGlobally is another such organization making super cool flip-flops out of trash tires. They are providing jobs for locals in and around Port au Prince. Many of the men and women working there have been able to take their kids back from poverty orphan care, buy land and move their families from tent cities to a new home. More over, 2 of the employees have been promoted from shoemakers to manager of operations and manager of the local sales store. The men and women were provided training and are now teaching others what they’ve learned.
Hats off to the men and women of Haiti and the visiting NGO’s working hard to preserve a culture while advancing an economy!! Keep up the good work!
Sometimes it seems as though the natural disasters in Haiti will not stop. From the horrendous earthquake that struck more than 3 years ago to the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy and most recently, regional droughts that have hindered planting and harvesting efforts. Yet there is hope. With your support, organizations such as the Lambi Fund and Partners in Health have been able to continue their work in capacity building.
Farming is difficult in Haiti as a result of the unpredictable weather leaving much of the land either flooded or barren. The Lambi Fund works with local organizations so that farmers are no longer at the mercy of the land. Resources such as irrigation canals and water pumps help the people cope with current weather situations while relief grants provide the people with seed and fertilizer. Not only does this help them get back on their feet, but they can also store food and grain for when future storms or droughts hit.
A member of the local organization AFDL explained that, “Before relief funding from Lambi Fund came, people weren’t sure when they could plant and harvest again. This was a major concern for everyone. The Lambi Fund of Haiti helped us till the land again…we have gardens again. The emergency relief was an opportunity for us. Hurricane Sandy came during planting season and we weren’t sure how we were going to repair the land. With Lambi Fund’s support, we re-tilled the land and planted again. Now we have corn, nuts, and black beans and harvesting has begun.”
Partners in Health is also helping to provide critically needed resources, one of the most important being electricity. Having recently finished the construction of a national teaching hospital, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), they’re now working on sustainable solutions to keep it up and running. Across the roof of the 200,000 square foot hospital are 1,800 solar panels meticulously arranged in order to produce more energy than HUM will consume. To put this into perspective, before the hospital was even open to the public, these solar panels produced 139 megawatt hours of electricity. This is enough energy to charge 22 MILLION smartphones, and offset 72 tons of coal and more than 140,000 pounds of carbon emissions. Using solar energy is expected to cut $379,000 from HUM’s projected annual operating costs. The environmental and financial benefits that these solar panels provide for Haiti are countless!
While you may only see heart wrenching stories about the people in Haiti on the news, there are so many more stories of hope and joy. This is why we provide you with these reports so that you can read about the inspiring things our partner organizations are doing on the ground. It is because of the support from donors like you that these organizations can continue their groundbreaking and catalyzing work.
One such story of hope comes from a Haitian doctor working with International Medical Corps. Raised in Port-au-Prince and the second child of four, Virginia was a witness to Haiti’s extreme poverty. The lack of health care and large inequalities struck a chord in her which solidified her decision to earn her medical degree. The earthquake hit when Virginia was still in her residency in the southern part of Haiti. She rushed back to Port-au-Prince to find her family who thankfully were unharmed. Yet being a doctor could not have prepared her for what she saw. Patients “without hands and legs; with broken eyes” and the crumbled streets “smelled dead.”
Life circled around survival. There was a constant flow of patients coming to her, begging and pleading for help. Her mind was “without energy.” She returned south to treat victims, yet everyone was always on high alert. Explains Virginia, “you just keep wondering when something will happen.” This psychological impact ran deep in the Haitian people’s minds. The survivors constantly wondered why they were alive when their family and country was in ruins. But Virginia refused to give up. “You have to fight – with everything you have. Otherwise, you will lose your mind.”
After finishing her residency, she applied for many jobs in Port-au-Prince, but found nothing. She expanded her search to areas outside the capitol and was flooded with responses from several NGOs including International Medical Corps. The match between IMC and Virginia was perfect. After one month, she became the supervisor of one IMC site, and then another, until finally her work took her back to Port-au-Prince. She constantly moved up in the organization where today, she is a capacity building manager. She says she sometimes does miss patient contact, but she knows that she is “helping lay the groundwork for more.”
Virginia describes her work: “If you work in a clinic, you may deliver a beautiful baby girl. But I get to fight for something else: to have more health facilities where women can give birth safely and hygienically, more trained OB/GYNs; places where a mother can take her child if it has disabilities.”
Today, Virginia believes that the earthquake literally shook Haiti to move forward, to rebuild in a more equal and sustainable way. “I think the earthquake brought something to us. We started to realize that the way we used to live was not correct, and that we have to integrate into the world. If every Haitian can think like this, I think that everything that happened to us will serve to progress us; to bring something different for the next generation. There is a lesson. We have to push to enter into life; to not be separate.”
Without your help, these inspiring stories from our partner organizations would be far and few. Every donation makes a difference and helps tell a story. From us at GlobalGiving to Haitian nationals like Virginia, we thank you for your support from the bottom of our hearts.
Our most sincere gratitude goes out to all of you GlobalGivers who have continued to help in our efforts to bring relief and rebuild Haiti. It has been more than 3 years since a massive earthquake devastated the world’s poorest country, yet with your generous contributions we have been able to support organizations that have been on the ground since the initial emergency response.
One of these organizations, Partners in Health (PIH) and its Haitian sister organization, Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health in Creole) is the largest healthcare provider in Haiti. Not only are they dedicated to treating the here and now, but PIH and ZL are building sustainable solutions that will raise standards of healthcare for the poor in rural Haiti. They are introducing new treatments and diagnostics to Haitian doctors, nurses and specialists that will address common and complex illnesses.
These illnesses which have common prevention methods tend to run rampant in poverty stricken areas like Haiti. Cholera has had devastating effects ever since the epidemic began 10 months after the earthquake. According to special correspondent for PBS Newshour Fred de Sam Lazaro, “Fatalities have dropped from 10% of cases early on to about 1%.” While these short term efforts have proven successful, cholera is likely to remain for some time. Problems such as the cholera epidemic have shown how vital it is that rebuilding efforts remain strong and relentless both in the literal sense and physical sense. PIH and ZL raised $22 million to build a state of art teaching hospital with 300 beds. In 10 years’ time, they will turn it over to the government to have control of.
Like PIH, International Medical Corps has been on the ground since the beginning of the disaster and are focused on rebuilding Haiti’s infrastructure from the bottom up. By providing vigorous training programs and technical assistance to local health officials, they are slowly making it possible for Haiti to be self-reliant. As a result of the cholera outbreak, International Medical Corps added two additional mobile medical units to provide cholera screenings, hygiene promotion and other health care services. This is in addition to the network of health care clinics that have already been established that administer a range of programs such as disaster risk reduction, nutrition, early childhood development, mental health, etc.
Both organizations have done amazing jobs at not only providing relief to Haiti, but also by working side by side with its citizens so that they may learn from them and become self-sufficient. This is fundamental to the survival of Haiti. In order to stand on its own, it must have a strong infrastructure with educated citizens. So much has been accomplished in the past three years, and this has only been made possible by you. Three years and counting of unwavering support have resulted in quality healthcare delivered to poverty stricken people. You have helped to save the lives of Haitians of all ages. So thank you for your commitment and belief in rebuilding Haiti one day at a time, and one life at a time.
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