The Justinian Hospital, the largest public facility in northern Haiti, serves over 700,000 people from Cap Haitien and the surrounding community. Years ago the municipal water system failed, forcing the hospital to rely on its small well and an electric pump that was often idled by power outages. In early 2007, damage to the hospital’s electrical supply limited to well pump to running only when the hospital had enough money to run its diesel generators. Medical staff and patients have lacked water for basic hygiene, and the water they had was often contaminated. Polluted groundwater entered the water distribution system through deteriorated pipes.
Volunteers with Konbit Sante have coordinated support from Global Giving, the United Nations, and Rotary International to improve the water system. The first construction project focused on eliminating a major source of contamination, a deteriorated pipe from the well to the storage tank that passed through a waste pile. In 2006, a team of local workers installed a seamless plastic pipe, encased in concrete. The type of pipe was not readily available in Haiti, so Konbit Sante shipped it along with medical supplies in a container.
Work in the summer of 2008 focused on maximizing the output of the existing well. Volunteers and hospital staff installed a new electrical service for the existing well. The improvements included a backup power supply and equipment that allowed the pump to run on generator and the municipal power supply. Hospital staff were very pleased with the improved supply, but the volume was still inadequate for all the various needs.
In September 2008, a local contractor installed a new well. Konbit Sante hired a contractor to build the supporting well house and completed the water supply in 2009.
The estimated yield was 8 gallons per minute, which tripled the water supply; however, the water was contaminated with bacteria and nitrates. Konbit Sante installed a temporary chlorine disinfection system and is evaluating longer term solutions.
Since the well installation, Konbit Sante has continued to work with the hospital to improve its water supply. We have worked with the local plumber to install plastic piping and valves to repair leaks in the distribution system.
In 2010, we used funds provided by Global Giving donors to purchase 10 pedal-activated stainless steel sinks. These sinks automatically shut off to minimize water waste and allow staff to wash their hands without touching faucets. This is key for improving hygiene and reducing infectious disease.
Thank you for your support. Your donations have improved the water supply and quality at the largest hospital in northern Haiti. We continue our work to improve the health system in Cap Haitien, having dedicated considerable resources in 2011 to combating cholera.
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