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 ...
Dec 9, 2015

PIH Haiti Earthquake Recovery December 2015 Update

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

Thank you so much for supporting Partners In Health and the ongoing mission to help Haiti rebuild after the 2010 earthquake. We are thrilled to share with you an excerpt from a story about Père Eddy (pictured above), "Haiti’s patron saint of mental health," and his work with Partners In Health to improve mental health care in Haiti.

Eddy Eustache, or Père Eddy as he’s most often called, is Haiti’s patron saint of mental health. In the decade since 2005, when PIH (known locally as Zanmi Lasante) hired him as its first psychologist in Haiti, he has trained and expanded his mental health team to include 50 social workers and 13 psychologists who work in 12 clinics across the region. With guidance from PIH’s cross-site mental health team, led by Dr. Giuseppe (Bepi) Raviola, Père Eddy and his team have successfully delivered psychological care in some of the most impoverished regions of the country.

After a 7.0 earthquake shook Port-au-Prince, resulting in more than 300,000 dead and thousands more injured, it became increasingly clear to PIH staff that Haitians needed mental health services. Post-earthquake PTSD wasn’t as much the issue as was long-standing depression, anxiety, and stress developed over decades of poverty, unemployment, violence, and political instability—what Père Eddy calls the “poverty package.”

“The earthquake did not bring mental illness to Haiti,” Père Eddy says. “It has been to everyone an opportunity of awareness raising, where people had to understand that something had to be done, something still has to be done for the burden of mental health. We have a population of more than 10 million with two public psychiatrists. That’s totally under-operational.”

Because of staunch advocates like Père Eddy, the mental health program in Haiti demonstrates what is possible in some of the poorest places in the world. But the priest-turned-psychologist doesn’t take this as a sign that his work is done. In some ways, it’s just begun.

Links:

Nov 24, 2015

University Fees for Cecilia - November 2015 update

Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health
Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health

 

Thank you for your support!  With your help, we were able to provide Cecilia (pictured above) with the financial support that she needed to attend university in Malawi.  Our colleague in Malawi recently spoke with Cecilia about her first semester in school, and we are excited to share this update with you:

I talked to a very happy Cecilia.  She has settled well and is loving university. She is still working on getting transferred to a nursing course, as that is her dream. Her only challenge has been not having a laptop as notes are given as soft copies and only typed assignments are accepted.* I asked her how she was doing so far with her studies and she assured me that she is studying hard, and she has been getting grades above average in all her course work. Currently she spends most of her time in the library as she is preparing for her end-of-semester exams which are commencing the second week in December.

She shared about how happy she is that she gets to learn French and math in her hospitality program. We had a brief conversation in French as she likes to practice with others, and I must say it was very impressive.

 *Cecilia has since been provided with a new laptop! 

Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health
Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health
Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health
Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health
Nov 24, 2015

Support children in Malawi - November 2015 Update

Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health
Nandi Bwanali / Partners In Health

(Above) Rachel helps her grandmother pump water from their well in Ligowe, Malawi.

Thank you for your support! With your help, Partners In Health is able to reach more children in rural Malawi with the medical care and social support that they need to thrive.  Children like Rachel—whose story is featured below.  I hope you take a moment to read about the lives that have been transformed because of your generosity.  

Rachel lives with her mother and grandparents in Ligowe, Malawi, in the remote district of Neno. The young girl, who turns 6 next month, helps her grandmother at home and pumps water from a well in their garden. When she’s not with her grandmother or at school, the cheerful first-grader plays with other children in their compound.

Her grandmother never thought Rachel would reach this age. At 2, she was HIV-positive and severely malnourished. With antiretroviral therapy and a peanut-based, high-calorie food provided by Partners In Health, she quickly recovered. But last year Rachel was readmitted to the hospital, malnourished and infected with tuberculosis. With more treatment, she eventually became well enough to return home. In all, Rachel has been hospitalized six times for malnutrition.

This is not uncommon. Most rural Malawians are poor subsistence farmers and grow maize outside their homes. If a family isn’t able to harvest enough maize to last them the year, they go hungry.

Without food, an individual’s immune system weakens and the body becomes more susceptible to disease; malnutrition therefore goes hand in hand with diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and HIV. Illness can then worsen malnutrition, compounding both problems.

This year is likely to be harder than usual for Rachel and others in rural Malawi. January, February, and March—a period known as nthawi ya chilala, the “hunger season”—are often when people run out of food they harvested the previous May.

But the hunger season is expected to come much earlier this year. Excessive rains last January caused devastating floods in many parts of the country and washed away crops and fertilizer, such that maize production has decreased by 28 percent, according to government estimates. The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development predicts that 3 million people—17 percent of Malawi’s population—will not be able to meet their annual food requirements.

PIH is already seeing the effects. Dolifa, an elderly woman with failing eyesight, came to have her eyes checked at a recent health screening in Matope. PIH clinicians diagnosed her as malnourished. “A lot of people have no food; our crops were washed away,” Dolifa shrugged. “We are just trying to make ends meet day in and day out, letting tomorrow’s worries remain tomorrow’s worries.”

Another patient, a father named John, came to the screening with a persistent cough and learned he was also malnourished. “I am not surprised,” he said. “My family and I usually go days without eating. When we have food to eat, we spare bigger portions for the younger ones.”

PIH provides malnourished patients with bags of blended corn and soy flour, and cooking oil. Patients suffering from severe malnutrition receive nut-based formulas that are high in calories, and they are referred to clinics for further care and medication. If patients are suffering from additional diseases such as tuberculosis or HIV, PIH incorporates nutritious food into their treatment. To prevent malnutrition in HIV-positive mothers and children, PIH provides them food in addition to antiretroviral therapy.

For Rachel and her family, it will be an ongoing challenge to stay healthy. But they’re hopeful. Rachel’s mother, 24-year-old Mphatso, thinks back to a year ago, when she feared she would lose her daughter.

“I remember sitting on the hospital bed and seeing other children die. I was scared Rachel would also die,” she said. Now, Mphatso thinks her daughter will go far in life. To inspire hope in others, she often tells Rachel’s story.

Blessings Banda, PIH’s nutrition manager in Malawi, has watched Rachel grow from a toddler to a young school girl, and helped care for her each step of the way (read more about his friendship with Rachel and her family here and here).

“We track her and act quickly to ensure we support her in all ways possible—both medically and nutrition-wise,” he says.

 
   

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