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May 26, 2020

May 2020 Project Update

Clinicians and staff at Partners In Health see every day how climate change and natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, can have direct, devastating impacts on the lives of the most vulnerable around the world.

Severe droughts wither crops, forcing subsistence farmers to worry when, not if, their families will suffer hunger. Increasingly powerful and unpredictable rainy seasons cause flooding and mudslides, which wipe out fragile homes built along hillsides and riverbanks, leaving thousands homeless and scrambling for clean water. And more frequent hurricanes—with their gale-force winds, heavy rains, and tidal surges—multiply the number of hungry and homeless by destroying crops and homes.

At these moments, PIH’s long-term work to strengthen health systems and social support enables global teams to provide immediate relief through food packages, temporary shelters, clean water, and emergency health care at mobile clinics. These efforts help meet residents’ needs in the short-term, but are a small part of what PIH does on a daily basis.

PIH leaders and their government partners focus most of their efforts on building permanent, sustainable solutions that address the root causes of poverty. That work begins with universal access to quality health care, from prenatal appointments for expectant mothers to palliative care for the dying, and from lifesaving surgeries to cancer treatment.

Across 11 countries, PIH is working to build strong public health systems, train the next generation of health care professionals, and inspire global leaders to follow PIH’s example so that more people will benefit when empathy and solidarity join the fruits of modern medicine.

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Jan 31, 2020

Jan 2020 Haiti Recovery Update

Ten years after a devastating 7.0 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Loune Viaud, executive director of Zanmi Lasante--as Partners In Health is known in Haiti, reflects on that fateful day and how she has led her team to respond in the weeks, months, and years that followed.

Dear PIHers,

Ten years ago, Haiti was shaken to its core by a disaster without precedent. The earthquake that struck on the afternoon of January 12, 2010, forever changed the trajectory of a city, a nation, and a global community.

At the time, our fear and grief combined with the frantic action that the moment’s overwhelming urgency required. As the scope of the response unfolded, the despair and pain felt by so many were met by the grace and generosity our shared humanity demanded.

Over the past decade, that initial surge of solidarity has grown into sustained partnerships. In partnership with the government of Haiti and the community of Mirebalais, Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante has built a modern teaching hospital and launched numerous programs that extend quality health care to countless people every year.

This calamity was not the end of Haiti’s tribulations—there is still so much more to do. With you at our side, our neighbors, patients, and colleagues have rebuilt and restored the country’s foundations—strong, and ready for the decades to come.

We will forever mourn those lost during the earthquake and its aftermath, but their loss has not been in vain. In their name, we will continue the long work of recovery.

I am privileged to work with incredibly dedicated, local and international staff, who save lives every day because of your support. Their passion and your solidarity are potent ingredients for justice.

On this important day of remembrance, from the birthplace of PIH, we are sending you our most heartfelt thanks.

 

Nan souvni ak nan lespwa (In hope and remembrance),

Loune Viaud

Executive Director - Zanmi Lasante | Partners in Health Haiti

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Oct 31, 2019

Quadruplets Birthed at University Hospital

Photo by Cecille  / Partners In Health
Photo by Cecille / Partners In Health

As Haiti experiences on going civil unrest, Partners In Health is working tirelessly to keep our doors opened for patients. Staff are working long hours, and scrambling to secure fuel for generators. Some have traveled hours by foot and motorcycle, dodging stones and tear gas, as they pass barricades to arrive for shifts. They are doing whatever it takes to take care of patients. We’re able to do this because of your partnership. 

Madeleine was one among thousands of Haitians across the country caught in life-threatening situations, as Haiti continues to be mired in more than one month of protests that have resulted in some 200 people injured and 20 killed. Roadblocks and demonstrations have cut off transportation in and around the capital, as well as across the country, as inflation spikes and Haitians struggle to access gas, food, and clean water. Banks, schools, businesses, and many health care facilities have been closed for weeks.

On a Saturday in late September, the 33-year-old mother fell to the floor while trying to get into bed. Soon she began feeling pains and noticed fluid discharge, interpreting them as the signs of early labor. With growing concern, she called her physician, who informed her that no one was at the clinic to help. Demonstrations and barricades had blocked all traffic.

Madeline and her husband, were informed that University Hospital was still opened. They soon hired a taxi and made the would be 45-minute trip to the University Hospital.  While in route to hospital, the couple would face road blocks and protesters. While explaining the situation of an expecting mother, the couple were allowed to pass through and directed to an unaffected route.  Two hours after leaving their home, the couple reached their destination.

Nursing staff swung into action. Madeleine was suffering from pre-eclampsia, they realized, and needed immediate attention. While they worked to get her blood pressure under control, they prepared her for labor so that, late Sunday evening, she safely delivered two babies before midnight. Two more babies followed in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Two girls arrived at 2.5 and 3.4 pounds, and two boys at 3.6 and 4 pounds. Because the newborns were underweight and had arrived more than two months early, they were placed in incubators to maintain their body temperature and receive constant monitoring in the NICU. While waiting to be transferred, Stevenson provided one of the babies kangaroo care, which allows infants skin-to-skin contact with their caregivers to help maintain body heat and stimulate feeding.

Meanwhile, Madeleine was in critical condition herself. She had lost a good amount of blood and required a transfusion. Hearing that the unrest had calmed, hospital leadership sent an ambulance to the Red Cross in Port-au-Prince that Tuesday to gather lifesaving units of O+ blood. The driver arrived back, safe and sound, and staff immediately provided the new mom with a transfusion.

The family remains in good hands at University Hospital, where they are cared for by a rotating crew of Haitian clinicians who arrive for shifts after overcoming their own obstacles each day. PIH staff form the backbone of a hospital that is trusted and always open, with lights on to receive more patients, like Madeleine and her family, every day.

 

In Haiti, PIH remains the largest non-profit health care provider, and as such we will continue to work to provide the citizens with quality healthcare, reaching toward the ultimate goal of eliminating deaths and preventable illness. Your support has contributed to the thousands of lives that are impacted everyday through our organization. We thank you!

 
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