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Aug 30, 2018

Haiti Earthquake Recovery - Aug 2018 Update

Photo by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health
Photo by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health

Above: Lunie, a 2-year-old malnutrition patient, plays peek-a-boo while standing by her mother at their home in rural Lascahobas, Haiti.

Thank you very much for supporting Partners In Health’s long-term work in Haiti. Since the earthquake in 2010, we’ve been able to expand many of our programs including treatment for childhood malnutrition with your help.

One of Partners In Health’s goals wherever we work is to eliminate all deaths due to malnutrition in children under five years of age. Malnutrition in Haiti contributes to an estimated 30% of all child deaths in the country. Stunting affects roughly one-quarter of all children, with a greater burden in rural areas.

And yet, we know the solutions: Provide children with adequate calories for growth and development, through food that won’t spoil over several weeks and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Bring malnutrition screening and care closer to communities to increase frequency of treatment and prevent moderate cases from becoming severe. Build systems for patient tracking and follow-up including regular home visits from Community Health Workers to improve linkages between the community and health facilities.

With help from generous supporters like you, PIH reaches thousands of children in need in our catchment areas in Haiti. Through mobile clinics and health centers around the country, we see improvements every day. “Since they started mobile clinics, the number of hospitalizations (for children with severe malnutrition) has decreased dramatically,” Dr. André says. “I think it’s the best thing we could ever do.”

Once enrolled in a PIH malnutrition program, children and their families often receive information on the kinds of nutrients children need and links between food and clean water and hygiene. If parents don’t have access to clean water, children with diarrhea won’t be able to gain weight – so household water and sanitation measures are also integrated into the program.

After the presentation, caregivers and their children line up to be seen. Auxiliary nurses measure each child’s height and weight and upper arm circumference and compare results with charts from previous visits. In addition to a two-week supply of Nourimanba, some children also receive iron supplements, oral rehydration salts, deworming antibiotics or cream treatment for scabies. It’s one of the benefits of the mobile clinics: While children are enrolled to improve their nutrition, they’re also accessing broader medical services. 

Between January and March of this year, the team ran 108 mobile clinics in rural, remote, hard-to-reach places over a three-month span. Each mobile clinic holds dozens and dozens of daily success stories: infants and children who live hours from a doctor or a road or electricity, and who are receiving health care and nutritional support that will give them a chance at a future not impeded by stunting or wasting or developmental delays.

Jun 4, 2018

Summer 2018 Haiti Earthquake Recovery Update

Photo by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners in Health
Photo by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners in Health

Thank you for your continued support of PIH’s Haiti Earthquake Recovery project!

A large part of PIH’s efforts for earthquake recovery in Haiti involve rebuilding the health system, including ensuring that women have the resources that they need for safe childbirth. We are pleased to share with you the following story from Haiti- about a mother named Natacha, who benefited from the services offered at the maternal waiting home at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti:

This pregnancy was different.

Natacha had already given birth to three girls, so she thought she knew what to expect while expecting. But the 39-year-old mother began feeling unbearable pain while seven months along. No matter how she shifted her body, her baby lay in an awkward position.

Natacha was unable to get the help she needed in her home of Port-de-Paix, so her sister, who is a trained nurse, recommended she travel to the closer University Hospital in Mirebalais, Partners In Health’s 300-bed teaching facility in the Central Plateau that offers free care.

She arrived at University Hospital on Sept. 18, 2017, and was seen by an OB-GYN, who confirmed that her baby boy was breech, or not head down. She also learned he was hydrocephalic, meaning his head was abnormally large from a buildup of fluid on the brain. The doctor recommended she stay nearby so that staff could monitor her risky pregnancy.

Normally, staying nearby would have been impossible for Natacha. She had no family in Mirebalais, and she definitely couldn’t afford two months of lodging as she waited for her Nov. 23 due date.

Luckily, Zanmi Lasante, as PIH is known in Haiti, had a new maternal waiting home to accommodate women in situations like Natacha’s by providing free lodging at the University Hospital campus. She was admitted that same day, given a welcome kit including basic toiletries, and settled into a room she shared with two other expectant mothers.

For her part, Natacha had faith that everything would turn out alright. She was five days away from her due date and feeling heavy, but hopeful. She had enjoyed her stay and marveled at how much it would’ve cost if she had had to pay for the free, comprehensive care she’d received so far.

“The care found here,” she said, “is priceless.”

Mar 9, 2018

PIH Haiti Earthquake Recovery March 2018 Update

Photo by Andrew Jones / Build Health International
Photo by Andrew Jones / Build Health International

Staff, stuff, space, and systems—those are the ingredients, says Dr. Paul Farmer, to strengthen a health care system. With the recent completion of a single facility in Haiti, made possible by your support, PIH has invested in all four.

The new state-of-the-art, 17,000-square-foot distribution center in Port-au-Prince dramatically increases warehouse space for PIH’s stock of lifesaving supplies, is climate controlled, and runs on a sophisticated open-source software system developed by PIH. The supply chain team can now easily find anything—from sterile gloves to lab tests, vitamins to scalpels—quickly pack it, and send it to a clinic. The result: clinics and hospitals provide better, more consistent care.

Before the distribution center opened, getting clinic staff the essential stuff they needed was a slow process. PIH’s supplies lived in a plywood warehouse that could not support a formal inventory system, nor store temperature-sensitive medication. Without refrigeration and a way to easily track materials within the warehouse, many drugs had to be stored off-site, and staff would spend days unloading shipping containers or packing trucks to get necessary tools to a clinic.

“Today we know exactly where we put our inventory. We can receive two containers and prepare three trucks to make deliveries to sites at the same time,” explains Villarson Avignon, supply chain director for PIH in Haiti.

There is still much more we can improve. The team could really use another 17,000 square feet, Avignon says. The difference, however, is already immeasurable for the supply chain team and for doctors, nurses, and patients throughout Haiti. “Nothing comparable,” says Avignon. “Day and night.”


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