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 ...
Nov 17, 2015

PIH Cholera Response in Haiti - Nov 2015 Update

Rebecca E. Rollins / Partners In Health
Rebecca E. Rollins / Partners In Health

 (Above: Dr. Thelisma Heber cares for a patient at the Cholera Treatment Center in Mirebalais, Haiti.)

Thank you for your support of Partners In Health, Zanmi Lasante (our sister organization in Haiti), and the thousands of people who you've helped to receive treatment for cholera, as well as education and resources to prevent it. Below please find an excerpt from a piece posted on our website this past summer. While we've made great progress in the places where we work in Haiti, cholera rages on.  

Haiti never knew cholera until 2010. That’s when the United Nations flew in a group of peacekeepers from Nepal, whose capital had recently suffered an outbreak of the disease, and set them up in a camp with poor plumbing. Contaminated sewage leaked into a tributary of the longest river in the country, the 200-mile Artibonite. Since the first person was diagnosed in October 2010, there have been more than 739,000 cases of cholera and 8,900 deaths, according to Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population.

So why does cholera continue to plague Haiti, and PIH/ZL sites, five years after the initial outbreak?

“We haven’t gotten rid of the reasons for the transmission of the bacteria, and that’s because there’s such poor water and sanitation,” says Dr. Louise Ivers, PIH’s senior health and policy advisor. Since the outbreak began, “there have been no transformative water and sanitation activities, and so the underlying problem is still there. I think that’s why the number of cases has started to go up again.”

Ivers also says numbers may be higher where PIH/ZL operates because the Centre region is one of the poorest in the country and, therefore, has limited water and sanitation infrastructure. Plus, staff actively record cholera cases, something that is not true everywhere in the country because human resources are lacking. A full count of the disease could be much higher nationwide.

In response to the epidemic, the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic proposed a 10-year, $2.2 billion plan to eliminate cholera, including investments in new water and sanitation systems. But that plan, announced in 2012 and supported by an international community of donors, is only 13 percent funded.

Some advocates believe the U.N. should shoulder more of the burden for cholera in Haiti. Brian Concannon and the non-profit he co-founded, the Institute of Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), has requested the U.N. accept responsibility for the initial outbreak. The IJDH filed a lawsuit against the U.N. in U.S. federal court in 2013, but a judge dismissed the case in January 2015. The organization is now appealing that ruling.

Meanwhile, Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante (ZL) staff do what they can to halt the most recent spike in cases, as they’ve done with others in the past. They mobilize a network of community health workers to find patients, open rehydration posts in remote locations, educate people about proper hygiene and sanitation, and diligently work to bring reliable water and sanitation systems to the region.

More comprehensive work needs to be done. In a 2010 article published in The Lancet, Ivers and Dr. Paul Farmer, a PIH co-founder and chief strategist, laid out a detailed roadmap to break the cycle of cholera. They wrote that health care professionals have to aggressively find and treat cholera cases and administer vaccines such as Shanchol, which Ivers and her colleagues found reduced the number of cholera cases by 63 percent among those vaccinated in villages north of St. Marc. Water and sanitation systems need to be improved. Public health care systems have to be strengthened. And global health policy must be crafted to give cholera the level of attention it deserves.

Sep 24, 2015

PIH Ebola Response Sept. 2015 Update

Photo by Rebecca E. Rollins/Partners In Health
Photo by Rebecca E. Rollins/Partners In Health

(Above: Ebola survivors Emoze “Moh Moh”and Mohamed “The Chairman” travel the streets and neighborhoods of Freetown in search and support of other survivors.)

Partners In Health is deeply committed to our goals of combating Ebola and advancing long-term, systemic change in the public health systems in Liberia and Sierra Leone. We have made significant progress in the realization of these goals. Thanks to your support, we addressed gaps in the immediate Ebola response swiftly and nimbly, and are now successfully integrating emergency efforts into broader strategies to strengthen the public health system. PIH continues to embrace the opportunity to improve the quality of care available and secure healthy and resilient futures for the people and communities we serve in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The need for investment in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean health systems has never been greater, and strengthening health systems is at the core of the PIH mission. With the decline in the number of Ebola cases, PIH’s work has progressed toward recovery and rebuilding the health care systems in each country, developing our plans in partnership with the Ministries of Health based on their evolving needs and priorities.

Our current roadmap includes:
• Ensuring that all patients can safely receive care;
• Repairing and making other critical improvements at hospitals and local clinics;
• Training community health workers, nurses, and doctors; and
• Providing technical assistance to the Ministries of Health.

Strong public health systems are an essential component of getting to, and staying at, zero new cases of Ebola, and of guaranteeing that patients, survivors, and others can receive high-quality comprehensive health care. As we have done in countries ravaged by genocide and natural disasters, PIH will bring safe, effective health care to communities in need.

We thank you again for your partnership in accomplishing these goals, and we hope you'll continue to join in our efforts. 

Sep 15, 2015

PIH Haiti Earthquake Recovery Sept 2015 Update

Thank you for your generous support of Partners In Health, and our work to build back better in Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake.  Together, we've come a long way in improving access to high-quality health care, as is illustrated in the photograph above.  With your help, more Haitians can get the care and treatment that they need, free of charge, for the long-term. 
We’re excited to share the above photograph, highlighting an important partnership with a fellow health care organization:

At University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, PIH and sister organization Zanmi Lasante clinical staff are partnering with The International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF) on their first trip to Mirebalais to perform pediatric cardiac surgery. ICHF brings the necessary staff and stuff (medication, surgical supplies, equipment) to support this type of surgery while focusing on building local capacity by training surgeons, nurses, and medical staff in the hospitals where they work. 

During their 2-week visit, the teams will focus on correcting two general types of heart issues: congenital heart conditions; and valvular heart disease.

Thank you again for your continued support, and for your belief in health care for all. 

 

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