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 ...
Oct 9, 2013

Help PIH Respond to Cholera - Oct. 2013 Update

Photo: Jon Lascher/Partners In Health
Photo: Jon Lascher/Partners In Health

Research on PIH Cholera Vaccination Project Released in Journal

Posted on October 09, 2013

Research reporting the results of Partners In Health’s cholera vaccination project in Haiti was released today in a special section of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The journal’s October issue, released just before the third anniversary of the cholera outbreak on Oct. 19, 2010, features a variety of public health research on cholera in Haiti.

As part of the special section, PIH Senior Health and Policy Advisor Dr. Louise Ivers and colleagues discuss the results of PIH’s rural cholera vaccination campaign in early 2012. The demonstration project was executed in collaboration with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and sought to vaccinate two vulnerable communities in the Artibonite region and build support for using the vaccine more broadly.

“Vaccines should not be viewed as a silver bullet that can subdue cholera in Haiti,” Ivers said. “But wider use of them, such as in campaigns targeting particularly vulnerable populations, can play a meaningful role in protecting people from illness and death.”

The journal article explains the project’s design and successful results. A total of 45,417 people in two communities received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine, representing 77 to 93 percent of the targeted population. Even more, 91 percent of people who received the first dose also received the second, an excellent completion rate.

Another article reports the results of a similarly successful campaign in Port-au-Prince, conducted by the nonprofit health care organization GHESKIO.

These projects proved that delivering the vaccine in the midst of an epidemic was possible in Haiti. The evidence contributed to the World Health Organization’s recommendation in 2012 to expand access to the vaccine in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Ivers said that community involvement was critical to the project’s success. In advance of the vaccination, community health workers conducted a census of the community and registered people to receive the vaccine. PIH and our Haitian sister organization, Zanmi Lasante, also worked with community leaders to ensure support of the campaign. Ivers said it wasn’t hard to convince community members to be vaccinated because they knew the danger through personal experience.

“We interviewed people in focus groups before the vaccination campaign and they had very emotional stories to tell about their experience with cholera,” Ivers said. “So it was not a far-off, distant issue, but a real and immediate threat.”

Aug 12, 2013

Equip Mirebalais Hospital - Aug. 2013 Update

Last month, there was a tap-tap accident in Saut d’Eau, Haiti a community near Mirebalais. The victims from this crash were taken to University Hospital’s emergency department for treatment – a great example of Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante staff providing essential emergency care to the communities around the hospital. In the past, patients from such an accident would likely have been transferred to Port-au-Prince for treatment, but with our new capabilities in Mirebalais, clinicians were able to treat them at University Hospital.  

Thanks to your support, University Hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology that is saving lives every day.  The article below, written by Partners In Health's Christian Hague, summarizes the story of one of the first emergency situations since the hospital began operating.  

Emergency Department at University Hospital Treats Victims of Bus Crash

Each year, a three-day spiritual pilgrimage known as the Feast of Mount Carmel draws thousands of faithful to the town of Saut d’Eau in Haiti’s rural Central Plateau. The pilgrims come to bathe in the local waterfall where, over 150 years ago, the Virgin Mary reportedly appeared and began to heal the sick. They often come in the back of pickup trucks known as tap-taps that are crowded with passengers and can be dangerous on the area’s unpaved, winding roads. In past years, tap-tap accidents claimed many lives during the pilgrimage to Saut d’Eau.

When a tap-tap crashed in the nearby town of Morne Couleuvre during this year’s July pilgrimage, the injured were brought to the nearby Hôpital Universitaire d’Mirebalais, a new hospital operated jointly by Partners In Health, its Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante, and the Haitian Ministry of Health. The 300-bed hospital offers many services that were never before available in this area of the Central Plateau, including a CT scanner that was used with many accident victims to diagnose injuries. The volume of patients from the Morne Couleuvre bus accident flooded the hospital’s emergency ward, where PIH/ZL’s clinicians were able to successfully treat 14 patients suffering from a variety of traumatic injuries, including four people with serious head injuries, one with a critical cervical spine fracture, one with a femur fracture, and a variety of other minor injuries. With the combined efforts of the emergency and surgical teams and the availability of the CT scanner, which has dramatically improved diagnostic capacity, the patients were well cared for at University Hospital and only one patient needed to be transferred for further care. 

Events like this highlight the essential services that University Hospital is providing to patients in the area around Mirebalais. Previously, the area lacked a large-scale medical facility to deal with high patient volume and provide essential emergency services, so patients often had to be transferred to the capitol in Port-au-Prince. “Having a modern and well-equipped emergency department and a highly trained team will dramatically improve our ability to reduce morbidity and mortality related to trauma in the Central Plateau,” says Dr. Regan Marsh, the Director of Emergency Services at University Hospital. “The ED physicians and nurses will be able to quickly assess, stabilize and manage both minor and major injuries – and have access to essential resources, such as bedside ultrasound and CT scan. We have already started trauma training for both the ED staff and surgeons and are continuing it now with one of our first visiting professors, who arrived in July 2013.”

Jul 31, 2013

Support Children in Rural Malawi - Aug 2013 Update

Sixteen-year old Bester Stand attends Chikonde Secondary School in Malawi’s rural Neno District. The third-born child in his family, who now lives with his older brother, he says his favorite school subject is English and that he hopes to become a doctor one day. However, before he became involved with APZU’s Program on Social and Economic Rights in 2012, Bester was unable to pay his school fees or to afford school materials. He says that he really appreciates the support he receives from APZU and thinks POSER is very important to many needy people in Neno.

In addition to providing housing support, income-generating and vocational training, and other social support assistance to adults in Neno, POSER reaches 2,000 vulnerable children in the district each year. 200 of these children are teenaged secondary school students and include not only Bester but also 10 of his classmates at Chikonde. With POSER support, their school and exam fees are paid and they receive uniforms, math instruments, and rulers at the beginning of the year as well as notebooks and pens at the beginning of each of three terms. POSER Coordinator Sam Msiska and other staff members also build important and supportive relationships with the students to support their psychosocial health.

APZU will continue to welcome donations to cover the costs of school fees and materials for young students like Bester and his classmates and looks forward to updating this page again next term. In the mean time, zikomo kwambiri to everyone who has supported this project! You are helping to make a critical difference for children in Neno. 

 
   

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