Photo by Cecille Joan Avila
Six years have passed since University Hospital in Mirebalais opened its doors and began transforming health care for more than one million people across Haiti's Central Plateau. Since March 2013, thousands of patients have had access to specialized care provided by clinicians working with Zanmi Lasante, as Partners In Health is known locally.
University Hospital has also been home to a growing medical education program, which has graduated 89 residents from a variety of specialties, including emergency medicine, surgery, and pediatrics, to add to the growing health care workforce in Haiti.
In the pre-dawn hours, dozens of patients begin arriving at University Hospital’s main entrance to await their turn for high-quality care, at little or no cost. Last year, clinicians conducted nearly 277,000 outpatient visits and admitted close to 6,000 patients, many of whom had traveled hours to be seen by the facility’s top-notch doctors and nurses.
Once patients have registered and had their vitals taken, they sit in one of several waiting rooms for their name to be called. They come for consultations with maternal and mental health, dental services and radiology, oncology and chronic diseases. Those who are admitted may end up in a number of departments, such as labor and delivery, pediatrics, or isolation—should they be diagnosed with an infectious disease, such as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
Regardless of why they come, they will receive care within specialties that would otherwise be out of reach for the rural poor across Haiti.
Here is what we have been up to at University Hospital in Haiti:
Over the past six years, Partner’s In Health has worked tirelessly to make University Hospital a beacon of hope in Haiti. For example, University Hospital is home to six state-of-the-art operating rooms, tucked away in the heart of the facility. In 2018 alone, surgeons performed 1,400 lifesaving cesarean sections and 800 other women's health-related procedures, such as hysterectomies.
The operating theater hosts routine surgeries, such as appendectomies and the removal of tumors. It has also hosted teams of international surgeons who, in collaboration with PIH clinicians, have conducted cleft palate repairs and—most impressive of all—the separation of conjoined twins.
So far, 19 surgical residents have entered University Hospital’s medical education program, four of whom formed the first graduating class last fall.
In 2018, Kay Manmito (PIH’s maternal waiting room) housed more than 400 women so that they could receive the lifesaving, dignified care they needed, from blood pressure monitoring to C-sections. These patients were among the 12 women, on average, who delivered each day in the neighboring hospital’s maternity ward. For expectant mothers like Natacha, whose risky pregnancy brought her to the facility, “the care found here is priceless.”
Partner’s In Health has also provided cancer treatment to more than 570 Patients and much more.