Project #1007

Supplying Critical Water for Haitian Hospital

by Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership

In the winter of 2015, 3 volunteer engineers- all board members of Konbit Sante- traveled to Cap- Haitien to work on thewater infrastructure at the Justinein University Hospital(JUH) and Fort San Michel Health Center (FSM).

To prepare for the work, meetings were held to maximize improvements. Volunteer Bob MacKinnon stated, "I participated in several stakeholder meetings involving the JUH utility survey. These included two meetings with the Hospital Administration, one with the Head Nurses of each department, and lastly with the medical equipment technician staff. I was pleasantly surprised that all groups understood the complexity of the issues involved and that the resolution would be a long complicated process. We were made aware of many important issues that we would not have been aware of as a result of the these meetings."

  1. Survey of building plumbing at JUH
  2. Survey of water distribution system at JUH
  3. Chlorination tests
  4. Water quality tests throughout hospital
  5. Meetings with hospital administration to discuss study and findings
  6. Utility survey of FSM
  7. Replacement of water heater for sterilizer and preventive maintenance work on sterilizer
  8. Repair of water supply for public toilets at JUH
  9. Survey of electrical distribution work at JUH including a meeting with the contractor
  10. Test softener to hospital  sterilizer

Volunteers worked with Konbit Sante and hospital staff and plan to return again this year. In the meantime, we maintain contact to offer technical advice between visits and continue to fundraise for salaries and supplies for local staff.

PLease contact us with any questions or concernc, or if you have a n interest in volunteering, at 207 347 6733/

A group of 6 volunteer engineers and skilled laborers ahevbooked travel for 2 weeks in January to review and improve access to water at the Justinien University Hospital( JUH) in Cap- Haitien Haiti.

The workplan submitted to the JUH and to the Haitian Ministry of Health Includes:

  1. Utility Survey- 

Identify water & sanitation needs of services

Evaluate root causes of problems with JUH staff

Map existing building interior and plumbing

Test flow from plumbing fixtures

Test coliforms in water supply

Develop design basis for service

Develop preliminary plans and discuss with hospital

Survey equipment previously shipped/installed to determine if it’s being used.  If not, brainstorm alternative uses.2

  1. 2.  Improve Chlorination-

Evaluate chlorine demand of water supply

Identify options for chlorination and associated costs with support of Sully or others

Discuss chlorination options with JUH staff

Evaluate options using pair-wise comparison model and criteria selected by team.  Example criteria include:

  • Safety
  • Efficacy
  • Sustainable supply of reagent
  • Cost – capital
  • Cost – Operating
  • Utility requirements
  • Complexity and training requirements

          3.  Water Management

Discuss water system management with JUH administration and operators

  • Quantity
  • Quality
  • Flow control
  • Demands
  • Distribution system

Review current state of water system and update water report

Rewire water pump for Well #1

Training on water distribution system operation

Konbit Sante staff and volunteers will submit a report upon the success of these activities upon the completion of travel.

This June, Konbit Sante volunteer Mike O'Neill carried down a chlorinator water pump that needed to be replaced, and along with Haitian staff and Konbit Sante Executive Director Nate Nickerson and Josue Limprevil, they installed the new pump. This pump is responsible for chlorinating water after it is pumped up from a well that is then distributed throughout the Justinien University Hospital.

In the meantime, Konbit Sante volunteers in Maine are getting a shipping container ready with infrastructure supplies so that the next volunteer trip in the fall of 2014 can focus on maintenance and repairs.   

The agenda for the next trip includes:

  • performing maintenance on the hospital sterilizer
  • conducting testing at all 3 hospital wells
  • furthering the design of a new Haitian health clinic in Bande du Nord, on the outskirts of Cap- Haitien

There is a new disease, chikungunya, that has spread to Haiti. It is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that carry dengue fever. So it is increasingly important to focus on controlling wastewater around the Justinien University Hospital. 

We can be reached at (207) 347-6733 and with any questions, concerns or to find out more about donating supplies or volunteering.

We are currently scheduling a trip for April 2014 of technical volunteers to travel to Cap- Haitien to assist with water, sanitation and other improvements.

Currently, we have three engineers, a master electrician and a biomedical technician joining local Konbit Sante staff in Haiti.  If you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities, please contact us directly at 347 6733. 

The agenda for this trip is quite extensive.  It includes:

  • Troublehooting design issues for a new health center in Bande du Nord
  • Fixing broken biomedical equipment
  • Conducting general maintenance on hospital sterilizers 
  • Completing an assessment of water services for the entire Justinien University Hospital (JUH)
  • Repairing and improving the three hospital water pumps that provide water for the JUH

The Justinein University Hospital recently moved the primary cholera treatment center ( CTC) for the north to the hospital campus.  This emphasizes the increasing importance of providing water and sanitation services.

We will follow this report with direct testimonials from volunteer participants and photos of our work. In the meantime, please contact us directly with any questions or concerns at:

Konbit Sante Cap- Haitien Health Partnership

(207) 347 6733

Our infrastructure team of Jeff Musich, Hugh Tozer and Bob MacKinnon, are headed back down to Cap Haitien today, October 23rd, 2013, for a quick trip. As per usual, their agenda is quite full.

Our primary objective this trip is to work with our Haitien colleagues to make repairs to the operating room sterilizer. The installation of this machine and its associated water and power systems, was the primary focus of our work for the past two years. It is used for the sterilization of the instruments used in the surgeries for the hospital. Our goal is to not only repair the machine, but also to provide the training to the hospital staff to do the routine maintenance on this machine. If time allows, we will be doing a property survey and preliminary site assessment for a new medical clinic in a nearby rural village in Cap Haitien. Rounding out our projects is to plan the layout and installation of oxygen in the Pediatric Building at the Justinian Hospital in Cap Haitien.

We are also exploring a trip of engineers, biomedical technicians, and electricians for 2014. If you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities, please contact us directly at 347 6733.

Although our volunteers offer technical expertise and assistance and are valued greatly, it is only in tandem with our Haitian staff and partners that the day to day work happens. This is what konbit sante means in Kreyol- working together for health.

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Organization Information

Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership

Location: Portland, Maine - Haiti
Project Leader:
Danny Muller
Project Manager
Portland, Maine United States
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