Project #1007

Supplying Critical Water for Haitian Hospital

by Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership
Installation of new water pipe
Installation of new water pipe

The water project that Global Giving donors have supported has helped the Justinian Hospital respond to the current crisis in Haiti. The hospital was spared much physical damage, being distant from the earthquake epicenter. This allowed it to function as a trauma center. Trucks, cars, and helicopters have transported patients to the hospital. They are fortunate to have an adequate water supply at a time when so many items (e.g., sutures, x-ray film, medications) are in short supply. Our organization is working on several fronts to address these other shortages.

Our approach has been to address long term needs in a sustainable fashion. Our commitment and relationships in Haiti have led the UN to turn to us to help coordinate medical care in the northern part of the country. These are difficult times, made more so by the diversion of funds from needs in Cap Haitien and other cities to Port au Prince. The needs of the capital are extraordinary, but so too are the needs in the rest of the country as it responds to the disaster.

Volunteers with Konbit Sante and hospital staff completed construction of the new well in 2009. The new well increased the hospital water supply by approximately six times, bringing it closer to what is needed by a 250-bed hospital.

The team returned in October 2009 to adjust the disinfection system and to test the water quality. Preliminary water tests found the water was contaminated with nitrates. Tests in October confirmed the nitrate concentration exceeded 40 mg/l, about four times the acceptable level. Nitrates are dangerous for infants and pregnant mothers, but are fine for children and adults. Since most of the water is used for sanitation and personal hygiene, and very little water is consumed, the hospital can use the water for its primary needs and purchase water for drinking.

We explored the option of using the original well as a dedicated drinking water supply because it is free of nitrates and bacteria. The hospital administration decided against it. They thought there were viable alternatives for drinking water.

We started the installation of new piping to reduce the water loss through leaks. We are threading new plastic pipe through the existing galvanized pipe. This protects the plastic and eliminates both leaking connections and sources of contamination. Our next steps will focus on repairing the distribution system and improving the plumbing in the buildings.

We are also exploring sanitation solutions that will reduce the nitrates in the ground water. This will be a complex problem due to the urban setting. The hospital administration is resistant to using composting toilets, but until there is a municipal treatment system, this represents one of the better options.

Thank you for your continued support. Your donations have improved the water supply and quality at the largest hospital in northern Haiti.

Collecting water during the well development
Collecting water during the well development

In January and March 2009, volunteers worked with hospital staff to complete the installation of the new water well and disinfection system. The well increased the water supply to the hospital by six times. Initial water quality tests indicate that the water is hard (similar to the existing well), and contaminated with high levels of nitrates. The nitrates are probably from the wastewater cesspools located on the hospital grounds. The water can be used for utility purposes, which constitute the greatest demand, but it can not be used as drinking water by infants. Nitrates can interfere with the oxygen carrying capacity of blood in babies. The current plan is to install two distribution systems, one for drinking water and one for utility water.


Project 1007 Update

The Justinian Hospital, the largest public facility in northern Haiti, serves over 700,000 people from Cap Haitien and the surrounding community. Years ago the municipal water system failed, forcing the hospital to rely on its small well and an electric pump that was often idled by power outages. In early 2007, damage to the hospital’s electrical supply limited to well pump to running only when the hospital had enough money to run its diesel generators. Medical staff and patients have lacked water for basic hygiene, and the water they had was often contaminated. Polluted groundwater entered the water distribution system through deteriorated pipes.

Volunteers with Konbit Sante have coordinated support from Global Giving, the United Nations, and Rotary International to improve the water system. The first construction project focused on eliminating a major source of contamination, a deteriorated pipe from the well to the storage tank that passed through a waste pile. In 2006, a team of local workers installed a seamless plastic pipe, encased in concrete. The type of pipe was not readily available in Haiti, so Konbit Sante shipped it along with medical supplies in a container.

Work in the summer of 2008 focused on maximizing the output of the existing well. Volunteers and hospital staff installed a new electrical service for the existing well. The improvements included a backup power supply and equipment that allowed the pump to run on generator and the municipal power supply. Hospital staff were very pleased with the improved supply, but the volume was still inadequate for all the various needs.

Click on attachment for more reading...


Please click the reports below to read about the water main installation in June 2007 and also future plans for this project including improving the existing well, constructing a new well, improving piping, distribution, and sanitation!


New water main and a well control system are due to arrive in Haiti in March 2007. The main will replace the existing pipe, which runs through a medical waste pipe. The new pipe should eliminate this contamination.

The pump controls will replace the existing system, which requires the operator to manual restart the pump whenever there is a power loss. Cap Haitien has suffered with irregular power, typically having less than 8 hours in the night. If the operator did not return to the hospital to restart the pump, there was no water. The new controls will run the pump whenever there is power and the switch is on.

This work should be completed by June 2007.


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership

Location: Portland, Maine - Haiti
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Danny Muller
Project Manager
Portland, Maine United States

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in Haiti or in Health that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.