Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti

by Partners In Health (PIH)
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Equip University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti

As Haiti experiences on going civil unrest, Partners In Health is working tirelessly to keep our doors opened for patients. Staff are working long hours, scrambling to secure fuel for generators. Some have traveled hours by foot or motorcycle, dodging stones and tear gas, as they pass barricades to arrive for shifts. They are doing whatever it takes to take care of patients. We’re able to do this because of your partnership.

Madeleine was one among thousands of Haitians across the country caught in life-threatening situations, as Haiti continues to be mired in more than one month of protests that have resulted in some 200 people injured and 20 killed. Roadblocks and demonstrations have cut off transportation in and around the capital, as well as across the country, as inflation spikes and Haitians struggle to access gas, food, and clean water. Banks, schools, businesses, and many health care facilities have been closed for weeks. Yet Zanmi Lasante, as Partners In Health is known locally, has kept open all its clinics and hospitals at 12 sites across the lower Artibonite and Central Plateau, including University Hospital in Mirebalais.

On a Saturday in late September, the 33-year-old mother fell to the floor while trying to get into bed. Soon she began feeling pains and noticed fluid discharge, interpreting them as the signs of early labor. With growing concern, she called her physician, who informed her that no one was at the clinic to help. Demonstrations and barricades had blocked all traffic.

Madeline and her husband, Stevenson, were informed that University Hospital was still opened. They soon hired a taxi and made the would be 45-minute trip to the University Hospital. While in route to hospital, the couple would face road blocks and protesters. While explaining the situation of an expecting mother, the couple were allowed to pass through and directed to an unaffected route. Two hours after leaving their home, the couple reached their destination.

Nursing staff swung into action. Madeleine was suffering from pre-eclampsia, they realized, and needed immediate attention. While they worked to get her blood pressure under control, they prepared her for labor so that, late Sunday evening, she safely delivered two babies before midnight. Two more babies followed in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Two girls arrived at 2.5 and 3.4 pounds, and two boys at 3.6 and 4 pounds. Because the newborns were underweight and had arrived more than two months early, they were placed in incubators to maintain their body temperature and receive constant monitoring in the NICU. While waiting to be transferred, Stevenson provided one of the babies kangaroo care, which allows infants skin-to-skin contact with their caregivers to help maintain body heat and stimulate feeding.

Meanwhile, Madeleine was in critical condition herself. She had lost a good amount of blood and required a transfusion. Hearing that the unrest had momentarily calmed, hospital leadership sent an ambulance to the Red Cross in Port-au-Prince that Tuesday to gather lifesaving units of O+ blood. The driver arrived back, safe and sound, and staff immediately provided the new mom with a transfusion.

The family remains in good hands at University Hospital, where they are cared for by a rotating crew of Haitian clinicians who arrive for shifts after overcoming their own obstacles each day. PIH staff form the backbone of a hospital that is trusted and always open, with lights on to receive more patients, like Madeleine and her family, every day.

In Haiti, PIH remains the largest non-profit health care provider, and as such we will continue to work to provide the citizens with quality healthcare, reaching toward the ultimate goal of eliminating deaths and preventable illness. Your support has contributed to Madeline and children’s success as well as the thousands of lives that are impacted everyday through our organization. On behalf of our patients, staff and communities, we thank you!


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We’re pleased to share with you the following story from Haiti—about a new mother named Madeleine, who birthed quadruplets with the help of PIH and University Hospital:


Madeleine a 33-year old woman, lives in Port-au-Prince and was prepared to have triplets based on her ultrasound. On Sunday, she fell on the floor while getting into bed and began to have pains with some fluid discharge.  After contacting her physician to let them know about her pains she was informed that, they could not get to the clinic due to the demonstrations and blockades on the roads.  A family member began to ask around if the Mirebalais hospital was open when she found out that we continued to function, the mother, husband and family member took a chance and hired a driver to bring them to HUM.  At the first roadblock they encountered, the driver explained to the demonstrators at the barricade the urgent situation. The demonstrators opened an area for them to pass and accompanied them to HUM, taking the inside roads to ensure that they reached the hospital as fast as possible.  Two hours after leaving the clinic, they arrived at the Mirebalais Hospital. PIH staff immediately tended to both mother and babies.  


Madeleine delivered two babies (girls) at 2.5 pounds and 3.4 pounds, and two males at 3.6 and 4 pounds respectively. The staff also reassured the dad after he saw there were four (4) babies instead of the expected triplets. Both parents are very happy and proud, and the father is helping taking care of the quadruplets with Kangaroo care, the technique that helps premature babies recover faster by placing them in direct skin contact.


Thanks so much for choosing to support Partners In Health and our work to build a world class health system in Haiti. Your support has been critical to our success in building and expanding the University Hospital In Mirebalais, Haiti.

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Photo by Cherchia/Build Health International
Photo by Cherchia/Build Health International

Thanks so much for choosing to support Partners In Health and our work to build a world class health system in Haiti. Your support has been critical to our success in building and expanding the University Hospital In Mirebalais, Haiti. We're happy to share an update on the Paul E. Farmer BSL-3 Laboratory at the hospital.

The opening of the Paul E. Farmer BSL-3 Laboratory means that thousands of patients every year will receive highly accurate diagnoses and the quality care they need. It means more Haitian lab technicians will receive advanced training in their fields. And it means more original research will be conducted to expand the existing body of knowledge on infectious and chronic diseases worldwide.

There’s a lot to celebrate this year. Orozco, director of laboratory services for PIH, said the “flagship” Dr. Paul E. Farmer BSL-3 Laboratory soon will be operating at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, after several years of construction and equipment transfers. The lab’s designation as a Biosafety Level 3 facility, or BSL-3, means it’s a high containment lab where technicians can work with infectious agents, including drug-resistant TB.

“People said to me, ‘Good luck opening a BSL-3 lab in rural Haiti”, Orozco said. “And not only have we done it, we also will demonstrate that it’s possible for it to run at a high standard of quality, while working closely with the national TB reference lab at Laboratoire National de Santé Publique (Haiti’s National Public Health Laboratory).”

Technicians will be trained to process sputum samples for the diagnosis of TB and MDR-TB, as well as monitor how effective therapy has been for patients.

Properly identifying TB strains is key to treatment and the prevention of drug resistance. If patients are infected with a TB strain that is susceptible to common antibiotics, they can be put on the right treatment and their case properly managed, eventually leading to a cure. If patients are misdiagnosed, then they could be taking medication that doesn’t kill the bacteria, but makes it more resistant. Resistant TB strains require months of daily injections and a cocktail of antibiotics that could cause debilitating side effects.

Clinicians often have to wait weeks or months to appropriately diagnose a TB or MDR-TB case. But new technologies exist that can shrink that time to a few days or even hours. “It’s challenging, but it’s not impossible to do in Haiti,” Orozco says.

Lab technicians will analyze blood, urine, stool, and other cultures, which are essential in providing more accurate and targeted therapies for children and adults with deadly diseases.

Diagnosis of infectious diseases—including HIV, hepatitis, meningitis, cholera, Zika, or chikungunya—will be possible in this new facility, as well as the monitoring of treatment for HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral therapy.

This array of advanced diagnostics simply hasn’t been possible before in Mirebalais. This all made possible by donors like yourself. Thank you!

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Photo by Cecille Joan Avila
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 Jean Paul, 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.


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Lovenyou, a 17-month-old malnutrition patient
Lovenyou, a 17-month-old malnutrition patient


Another year is beginning, and while there is still much work to do to ensure access to quality health care for people who have none, we have much to celebrate! With your help, Partners In Health made substantial progress in Haiti, through our network of almost 2,400 community health workers and 14 health care facilities, including our world-class teaching hospital in Mirebalais—University Hospital.

In Haiti, 1 in every 5 children is malnourished, and 1 in 3 is stunted because they don’t have enough to eat. With your help, Partners In Health is working toward eliminating malnutrition in Haiti and all of the places where we work. In an average month, 127 patients received care and nutritional supplements at the malnutrition clinic in Boucan Carré. That’s just a fraction of the total number of starving children PIH helped last year; altogether, staff enrolled 9,000 children as new patients.

Partners In Health makes an effort to reach all malnourish patients in all parts of Haiti. We support 14 clinics and hospitals in our mission to combat malnutrition.  One of our many patients was 17-month old Lovenyou.  Lovenyou had been sick with diarrhea for several days before a reaching PIH-supported clinic.  He was brought to the Boucan Carré clinic where he was diagnosed with severe malnutrition. When he arrived at the clinic, he weighed only 17 pounds – well below the normal growth curve for a boy his age.

As Lovenyou’s condition worsened (spiked fever, diarrhea, not eating, losing consciousness), his mother brought him to the PIH-supported University Hospital in Mirebalais.  Tests showed that he was in dire need of additional nutrients.  Within eight days of receiving treatment, Lovenyou was doing much better, but he still had miles to go. In the weeks to follow, his mother would travel with him (sometimes walking) on the 30-minute distance from home to the University Hospital.  During these visits, PIH provided Lovenyou with a supply of Nourimanba – nutrition rich paste which is produced and distributed by PIH.

Lovenyou’s and so many other patient's recoveries were made possible by donors like you. You have been instrumental in everything from keeping the lights on at our clinics, to the production and distribution of our nutritional peanut paste. Thank you for believing that everyone deserves health care, regardless of where they were born, and for walking alongside Partners In Health in our work to achieve our mission.   

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Partners In Health (PIH)

Location: Boston, MA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PIH
Project Leader:
Laura Soucy
Annual Giving Coordinator
Boston, MA United States

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