Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery

by Partners In Health (PIH)
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery
Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Recovery

Paul (48 years old) is treated at HUM after arriving via air ambulance. Photo by Nadia Todres for Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante).  

Dear Friends,  

It has been almost a year since the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, leaving thousands dead, injured, and displaced.In response to the 2021 earthquake in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), as Partners In Health is known locally, continued to support the provision of urgent care and support the continuum of care for all patients. Since August 2021, PIH/ZL has received and treated 67,658 patients, including those with severe conditions as a result of the earthquake requiring orthopedic surgery, at its tertiary referral hospital, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM).  

PIH/ZL has provided psychosocial assistance to more than 3,113 patients who were affected by the earthquake which included food and hygiene products, and school materials. Via mobile clinics, a total of 36,825 patients have been seen in the hard-hit areas of Grand-Anse and Sud. PIH/ZL is continuing to support interventions for the management of malnutrition and mental health, strengthening psychosocial support for victims, and continuing to provide needed medical supplies and equipment across the earthquake-impacted regions, as well as support the construction of three permanent health centers in Gauthier Civil, (Plaisance du Sud, Nippes), Baie Dumesle (Saint Louis du Sud, South), and Basse Rivière Desormeaux (Bonbon, Grand Anse). A meeting took place on June 24, 2022, with health authorities to review and approve construction plans. 

Moving forward, PIH/ZL will continue to provide social support and mental health services to both patients and staff through its networks across rural Haiti, and seek to establish a new partnership with the Haiti National Ambulance Center (CAN) to improve services for emergency care and provide enhanced malnutrition support for pediatric patients across our network, particularly in Boucan Carre, where the highest number of children experiencing malnutrition have been reported.  

The August 2021 earthquake in Haiti continues to make evident the importance of a long-term effort to strengthen the public health system in Haiti. Zanmi Lasante (ZL) is committed to this work and continues to prioritize targeted interventions that will build long-term resiliency into the public health sector and ensure that Haiti is better prepared for the next emergency. Looking forward, PIH/ZL’s earthquake response and recovery strategy will continue to center on strengthening Haiti’s public health sector, building capacity through education and training of the Haitian health workforce, and prioritizing support for the most vulnerable. 

On behalf of those we serve, thank you so much for your invaluable partnership and kindness to support thousands of Haitians impacted by the earthquake. Your support today saves lives and heals families in some of the world’s poorest communities, where we stand beside ailing, marginalized people -- who face the kind of everyday hardships most of us can only imagine. 

In Solidarity,  

Partners In Health 

Medical team at Hospital Universitaire de Mirebalais (Mirebalais, Haiti) August 19, 2021. Photo by Todres for Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante). 

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Patients are transferred to PIH/ZL-supported University Hospital of Mirebalais in the days following the earthquake in southern Haiti. Photos by Nadia Torres for Partners In Health

Dear Friends,

On the morning of August 14th, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, leaving thousands dead, injured, and displaced. The epicenter occurred approximately 150 miles west of Port-au-Prince, largely affecting the cities of Les Cayes (the capital of the South, or Sud) and Jérémie (the capital of Grand Anse). The earthquake comes on the heels of recent political and civil unrest; impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic; and worsening circumstances for Haitians already experiencing extreme poverty, limited access to health care, and food and economic insecurity.

Partners In Health (PIH) and our sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), mobilized an immediate response to this devastating emergency, and now, PIH/ZL’s efforts have transitioned from immediate response efforts to the recovery phase. PIH/ZL’s emergency response and long-term recovery efforts center on partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health and support that reinforces local partners and the broader public health system. Specifically, PIH/ZL’s approach has been guided by three strategies:

  1. Mobilizing a rapid response directly in the earthquake zone and building partnerships with local partners for medium to long-term response efforts;
  2. Reinforcing PIH/ZL’s network of health systems to provide urgent care and support the continuum of care for all patients, now and in the future; and
  3. Strengthening Haiti’s public sector for the long term.

Some key progress achieved:

-          PIH/ZL provided social support packages to 257 patients affected by the earthquake and provided psychosocial assistance to more than 2,100 patients.

-          Via mobile clinics, a total of 18,961 patients were seen in the hard-hit areas of Grand-Anse and Sud.

-          PIH/ZL transported up to 209 medical and consumables items, to the earthquake zone, including 29 items to Health Equity International’s St. Boniface Hospital and 181 items to the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) in the greater southern regions.

-          PIH/ZL provided six training sessions from January 24, 2022 to February 4, 2022, by two PIH/ZL teams in the southern regions.

-          PIH/ZL continued a robust vaccination effort across its 17 supported health facilities throughout the regions of the lower Artibonite and Central Plateau.

-          PIH/ZL provided direct financial support to 258 employees whose families were affected by the earthquake, with assistance totaling over $247,000.

PIH/ZL’s earthquake response has ensured that immediate support was provided to address the most urgent needs of those affected by the earthquake, while ensuring that emergency response efforts were integrated into a longer-term commitment to strengthen the health system for the long term. Looking forward, PIH/ZL’s earthquake response and recovery strategy will continue to center on strengthening Haiti’s public health sector, building capacity through education and training of the Haitian health workforce, and prioritizing support for the most vulnerable.

On behalf of those we serve, thank you for your partnership to support the thousands of Haitians impacted by the earthquake and to advance a more equitable health system that can fulfill the right to health care for all in Haiti.

In Solidarity,

Partners In Health

Dr. Rimpel (red shirt, scarf, glasses), chief of emergency medicine at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, leads an emergency medicine training session at the Partners In Health offices in Boston. Photo by Nina Peskanov for Partners In Health

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PIH Staff in Haiti training to give COVID-19 Tests
PIH Staff in Haiti training to give COVID-19 Tests

Dear friends,  

First and foremost, thank you so much for your tremendous support of PIH Haiti Earthquake Recovery. PIH’s response continues to build the impact zone as staff identify and transport those in need of critical care, deliver much-needed supplies, and deepen partnerships with additional organizations responding to the crisis. Our healthcare staff continues to work through the busy holiday season. Recently, Zamni Lasante worked through a horrific tragedy where 70 people died and dozens were injured when a gas tanker exploded on December 13th. Zamni Lasante's hospital system was one of the few hospitals equipped for the healhcare needs of those affected. This tragedy emphasizes the need for a burn center in Haiti, as well as continued investment in Zamni Lasante. 

Our staff in Haiti now includes more than 6,500 Haitian doctors, nurses, and other professionals running the country’s largest non-governmental health system. Thanks to our long investment in local capacity-building and systems, PIH trauma teams were on the ground in the earthquake zone within 48 hours, and we are enacting emergency protocols and treating crush victims amid very difficult logistical challenges that have been exacerbated by Tropical Storm Grace, ongoing civil unrest, and COVID-19. 

Our core mission has always been supporting Haiti’s health system and building it up to where every single person has access to the high-quality health care that is their human right. That steady work, unfolding over decades and punctuated by catastrophe after catastrophe, means our team is a relied-upon pillar of stability, strong, and better prepared to save lives right now than it has ever been.This earthquake destroyed lives, homes, health clinics, and systems of care. Rebuilding what was lost will take years of accompaniment and support, and Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante is up to the task.  

We couldn’t be happier and more thankful to receive tremendous support from you which gives us strength and hope to continue to provide high-quality health care and urgent support to poor and vulnerable people around the world. Thank you again for your generosity and solidarity. 

With gratitude, 

Partners In Health

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Louine (4 years old) receives medical care at HUM
Louine (4 years old) receives medical care at HUM

Dear friends,  

First and foremost, thank you so much for your tremendous support of PIH Haiti Earthquake Recovery. In just two weeks, thousands of you gave toPIH that helps us care for survivorsof thedevastating 7.2-magnitude earthquakethat struck Haiti on Aug. 14. PIH’s response continues to build the impact zone as staff identify and transport those in need of critical care, deliver much-needed supplies, and deepen partnerships with additional organizations responding to the crisis. 

Our staff in Haiti now includes more than 6,500 Haitian doctors, nurses, and other professionals running the country’s largest non-governmental health system. Thanks to our long investment in local capacity-building and systems, PIH trauma teams were on the ground in the earthquake zone within 48 hours, and we are enacting emergency protocols and treating crush victims amid very difficult logistical challenges that have been exacerbated by Tropical Storm Grace, ongoing civil unrest, and COVID-19. 

Our core mission has always been supporting Haiti’s health system and building it up to where every single person has access to the high-quality health care that is their human right. That steady work, unfolding over decades and punctuated by catastrophe after catastrophe, means our team is a relied-upon pillar of stability, strong, and better prepared to save lives right now than it has ever been.This earthquake destroyed lives, homes, health clinics, and systems of care. Rebuilding what was lost will take years of accompaniment and support, and Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante is up to the task.  

We couldn’t be happier and more thankful to receive tremendous support from you which gives us strength and hope to continue to provide high-quality health care and urgent support to poor and vulnerable people around the world. Thank you again for your generosity and solidarity. 

With gratitude, 

Partners In Health

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Thamar Julmiste feeding a newborn in the NICU
Thamar Julmiste feeding a newborn in the NICU

It was a typical morning for Gretta Joseph, deputy chief nursing officer at University Hospital of Mirebalais in Haiti. She was still at home, going through her work email and getting a sense of her schedule for the day at the hospital, when she noticed the congratulatory message informing her she had been accepted to Partners In Health’s Global Nurse Executive Fellowship.

She let out a celebratory scream, alarming her husband who rushed into the room. Soon he was joining her celebration; he knew how much she had wanted this.

Joseph is among ten nurse leaders, from six countries, in the second cohort of the fellowship program, which launched in 2017. The program seeks to fill a void of support for nurses in senior or executive leadership roles, who are often placed in their positions without being provided the necessary tools, skills, or support to be successful. 

Fellows were selected last fall and began the program in October 2020. The yearlong program includes three, weeklong intensive bootcamps, a yearlong executive style curriculum, and a capstone project which seeks to improve patient outcomes and care delivery.

“The Global Nurse Executive Fellowship provides a foundation for clinical hospital and organizational management with a progressive development of critical analysis, health information system strengthening, and health system performance monitoring, evaluation, and supervision,” says Marc Julmisse, PIH’s deputy chief nursing officer.

Joseph and two other Haitian nurse leaders, Thamar Julmiste and Abdonie Laguerre, were selected for the fellowship and currently work at University Hospital in Mirebalais, a 350-bed teaching facility that was largely built in response to the 2010 earthquake.

All said, nursing is deeply rooted in their identity and they feel it is their personal missions to take care of their community. To them, nurses are the pillars of the health care system in Haiti. Through the fellowship, they hope to be a voice advocating for all nurses in Haitian society.

Nursing had been a surprise twist in Joseph’s career path. Originally, she had planned to become an agronomist. However, a short stay at the hospital when she was 18 helped Joseph discover nursing as her true calling. She went in for a biopsy and was terrified. “Thankfully my aunt worked as a nurse in this particular hospital and did everything to make me feel at ease,” she recalled.

Joseph assumed she was given preferential treatment because of her family connections. But she soon noticed that all the nurses were going above and beyond with other patients. “They were tirelessly going from patient to parent and cared for them with the same commitment and empathy I had experienced,” she said. “I was impressed by what I was seeing.”

Having found her path, Joseph shifted her focus from preparing to enter agronomy school and enrolled in a nursing program. She graduated in 2003 and went on to work with various hospitals and institutions, later specializing in anesthesiology. In 2009 she joined Zanmi Lasante, PIH’s sister organization in Haiti, and began working as a nurse anesthetist at Hôpital Saint Nicolas in the city of Saint-Marc. She eventually transitioned to University Hospital in 2013.

“As a Haitian nurse, I was thrilled to be working in an environment that promoted growth and improvement and encouraged teamwork amongst its staff,” Joseph said.

Working her way up, Joseph went on to become supervisor and head nurse of the Post Anesthesia Care Unit in 2015, and five years later Joseph was named deputy chief nursing officer at University Hospital, a role she understandably does not take lightly.  She believes the fellowship will help her improve her clinical and leadership skills and empower her to better serve her community.

Joseph, who is also the training manager of Zanmi Lasante’s Nursing Center of Excellence, said nursing is often devalued in Haiti, seen as the recourse for young women who don’t know what to do with their lives. She vehemently rejects this narrative.

“Through my role as deputy CNO and with the skills I will acquire from the fellowship,” said Joseph, “I want to change that perception and be a leading voice, advocating for better training for Haitian nurses.

Thamar Julmiste specifically chose a career in nursing to care for the poorest in Haiti. As a recent graduate of nursing school, she was on the frontlines of the January 2010 earthquake response with other Haitian nurses as they mobilized to provide care, despite a desperate shortage of medical personnel and supplies.

Three years later, Julmiste visited University Hospital as part of a team conducting an assessment of health care service providers in Haiti and was impressed by the state-of-the-art facility and its culture of excellence and innovation. The hospital’s commitment to filling the void for people who had limited access to quality health care appealed to her personal convictions. She promised herself that, one day, she would work there.

She then applied for a nursing position at Zanmi Lasante’s Hôpital Sainte-Thérèse in Hinche, which was inaugurating a new neonatal wing in partnership with Ohio State University. For the next two years, Julmiste specialized in neonatology, eventually becoming the lead nurse of the department. Although she thrived in this role, she aspired to further her education and hone her skills.

An opportunity to work at University Hospital arose in 2017. She took an admission exam and joined the team as nurse educator at its Nursing Center of Excellence.

Hospital leadership subsequently appointed her as coordinator of Kay Manmito, a facility on the grounds of University dedicated to expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies and new mothers of premature infants. Also under her leadership, more than 1,500 women and 900 babies were enrolled in the Journey to 9 program, which uses innovative actives such as group prenatal appointments and home visits to reduce maternal and child mortality.

Julmiste was promoted to University Hospital’s deputy chief nursing officer in August 2020. She was initially apprehensive to apply for the fellowship. Although she had the full support of hospital leadership, she felt it would be a challenge to undertake such an intensive training so soon after starting her new and demanding role. The encouragement of her mentor, Nurse Angeline Charles—a 2017 fellowship recipient, clinched her decision to apply.

“Miss Charles embodied the qualities of a real leader, and I aspired to be an agent of change like her,” Julmiste said.

Julmiste was overjoyed when she learned she had been accepted. She felt the knowledge and skills she would acquire would allow her to better serve her community and raise the bar for what she considers to be the world’s most noble profession.

“This fellowship will increase my leadership competencies and help me in achieving my goal of pursuing a doctorate degree in nursing,” she said. “I want to mentor future leaders in my institution and in my country.”

Nurse Abdonie Laguerre often wondered what it would be like to work at University Hospital. During the construction of the hospital, she regularly passed by the site on her way to work and marveled at what promised to become one of the most advanced medical facilities in the Caribbean.

Laguerre had already been a nurse for seven years. She’d held leadership roles in several challenging projects in Haiti, including nurse leader in Atletik 2, a camp for displaced survivors of the 2010 earthquake and nurse supervisor in a sanitation project in Cité Soleil, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the country.

A woman of faith, Laguerre sees nursing as her mission on earth: “What brings me joy in this job is to see that, at the end of each day, we have brought a little comfort to patients. Or seeing the gratitude in the eyes of a young mother who has been touched by a word or by a gesture. To bring some hope to someone else’s life.”

In 2013, she applied for the role of lead nurse of internal medicine at University Hospital. She adhered to its vision of providing quality care to the poorest people and believed her experience made her an asset to nursing staff. She also wished to expand her knowledge through training and by working alongside experts.

With that in mind, Laguerre collaborated with the care management team at the hospital to develop and implement care plans and improve processes. She still devoted her time to clinical work, helping with palliative care patients in the oncology department, reviewing patient files, listening to their complaints, checking on their improvement, explaining side effects, and even providing counseling.

When she was named University Hospital’s chief nursing officer in August 2020, Laguerre decided to apply for the fellowship along with her two colleagues. Despite the grueling schedule brought by her new role, as well as studying for a PhD, she realized the skills and knowledge she would gain would be invaluable and intended to take full advantage of the opportunity.

“This fellowship will help me grow as a manager and as a leader,” Laguerre said. “I am convinced it will open my intellectual horizons and provide me with tools I can apply to my work serving the community and even in my personal life.”

Having experienced the trauma and destruction of the 2010 earthquake, many of the nurses at University Hospital of Mirebalais are well versed in how to rebuild a health system. Compassionate care and education are core aspects of Partners In Health and Zanmi Lasante, progressing Haiti into a more sustainable and  progressive future.

Abdonie Laguerre named Chief Nursing Officer
Abdonie Laguerre named Chief Nursing Officer
Gretta Joseph named deputy chief nursing officer
Gretta Joseph named deputy chief nursing officer

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Organization Information

Partners In Health (PIH)

Location: Boston, MA - USA
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Twitter: @PIH
Project Leader:
Laura Soucy
Annual Giving Coordinator
Boston, MA United States
$165,420 raised of $200,000 goal
 
1,184 donations
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