Project #7074

Equip the new Mirebalais Hospital in Haiti

by Partners In Health (PIH)
Photo by Johanne Hilaire / Partners In Health
Photo by Johanne Hilaire / Partners In Health

Above: PIH's chief medical officer sees patients in the pediatric ward of Hôpital Immaculée Conception in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Oct. 15, 2016.

Thank you so much for supporting Partners In Health and University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti. This fall, Haiti was again devastated by natural disaster, when Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, hit the country's southern peninsula.

As a result of the hurricane, thousands of acres of peasant farmland were destroyed, swept away by 145 mile-per-hour winds or damaged by gallons of saltwater that fell over a 24-hour period. Statuesque banana and mango trees snapped like matchsticks. Livestock disappeared. Many houses simply gone. Others stripped of their roofs. Clothes and household goods strewn about as if they’d been caught in a tornado.

Hundreds of people are using the same small, ill-equipped buildings, such as public schools, as emergency shelters. These places have inadequate water and sanitation and could quickly turn into fertile ground for deadly diarrheal diseases such as cholera. She thinks of the destroyed crops and empty storehouses and anticipates starvation. Water pools everywhere, creating potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying diseases like malaria, Dengue, and Zika. And then there are the infections, such as tetanus, that come from untreated wounds sustained from flying debris during the hurricane.

With some estimates claiming the number of displaced at 1 million people and no temporary shelter in the south, PIH's chief medical officer thinks hurricane survivors will start resettling in the north and west, toward where PIH works in the Central Plateau and Artibonite. They may bring cholera with them, adding to the burden the disease has already placed there, as flooding and fetid water are causing a spike in cases following Hurricane Matthew.

University Hospital will provide the high quality care it's known for to the influx of Haitians who need medical attention post-hurricane and who resettle towards the hospital. Your support is what makes this high quality care possible - we are incredibly grateful for your generosity.

Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health
Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health

Thank you very much for your continued support of Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante and University Hospital in Mirebalais (HUM), Haiti.

We're pleased to share with you a story about Lauria (pictured above), a nurse at University Hospital. Please enjoy the excerpt below, and read the full story at

Watching her work with patients and staff, it’s hard to imagine Lauria as anything but a nurse. Yet the profession was not her first choice. A lover of math, physics, and chemistry, the Cayes native dreamed of becoming a civil engineer in her community along the southern coast. Her mother had other ideas. Tuition for nursing was much more affordable, so she pushed her daughter to pursue the career against her wishes.

Lauria was in her second year at the National Nursing School of Cayes when her father mysteriously fell ill. He started driving four hours, one way, to Port-au-Prince to visit doctors in search of answers, and his daughter often accompanied him.

“We went to five different hospitals hoping for a diagnosis, but were never given one,” Lauria said. The young nurse thought her father might be suffering from tuberculosis or pneumonia. She talked to him about his illness, bolstered his hope, and encouraged him to keep taking his medication. Finally, at the capital’s TB sanatorium, they learned he had lung cancer.

“My dad died in May of 2010,” Lauria said. “It was too late for the doctors to do anything for him.”

Caring for her father made Lauria appreciate the value of her new profession, and small encounters during her clinical rotations reinforced her sense of purpose. One patient from her early years of nursing school stands out in her mind. The woman was in a “horrible state,” Lauria remembered. Her catheter hadn’t been changed. She hadn’t been bathed in four days. And her hair and teeth hadn’t been brushed for likely as long. The young nurse carefully washed her, brushed her teeth and hair, and changed her clothes and bed sheets.

“It was then when I realized I needed to continue this work, because people needed my help,” Lauria said. “I learned the importance of nursing; it’s not about me, it’s about my patients.”

Thank you again for your support!


Photos by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health
Photos by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health

Nurse Thamar Julmiste (right), who attended the first neonatal and pediatric intensive care training, attends to a newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Therese Hospital in Hinche, Haiti.

Thank you so much for supporting Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante and University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti.

We are thrilled to share with you news of the latest training course in neonatal and pediatric intensive care at University Hospital.

The Hospital hosted this free, 24-week-long training for 26 nurses from around the country, who will receive certification from the Haitian government next month and be counted among Haiti's emergent group of neonatal and pediatric intensive care nurse specialists.

Currently in Haiti, for advanced training in areas other than midwifery or community health, students must travel outside of the country -- and many don't return. Consequently, Haiti faces a shortage of medical professionals with specialized skills. The University Hospital-hosted training course aims to correct this imbalance and ensure that Haiti's health system is comprised of medical professionals with a wide variety of specialities and expertises.

The guiding principle behind the training was, in the words of Marc Julmisse, University Hospital's chief nursing officer: "Everyone deserves the best level of care." His goal for participating clinicians is to develop specizlied skills and critical thinking tools to "become a valuable member of the patient care team." Nurse Thamar Julmiste, who participated in the inaugural training course, echoed this sentiment. "Nurses should take this training because with more nurses knowing [how to handle these situations], we will save more children. Our expectation is that you're going to be a leader."

None of this work would be possible without your generous support -- thank you!

Photo by Rebecca E. Rollins/Partners In Health
Photo by Rebecca E. Rollins/Partners In Health

Above: Oncology nurses Yolande Nazaire (from left) and Vierzela Pierre care for patients undergoing chemotherapy at University Hospital.

Thank you for supporting Partners In Health and University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti.

University Hospital is dramatically widening access to oncology services in Haiti as the country's only facility to provide comprehensive cancer care, free of charge. According to Dr. Ruth Damuse, oncology program director for Partners In Health and Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante, before University Hospital and its oncology services, "people in rural Haiti didn't have any chance to have access to cancer care. A few patients would try to get the services in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but the cost would be so high, they would start a treatment and stop in the middle of the process."

Now, each day an average of 22 patients visit University Hospital's oncology department, where they can be diagnosed through biopsies, CT scans, and the expertise of doctors at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital; treated with chemotherapy and surgery; and supported with palliative care and psychosocial services.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers treated at University Hospital -- of the 1,600 biopsies the oncology department performed in 2015, nearly 40 percent were breast-related. At the below links, you can learn about the path of a breast cancer patient at University Hospital and hear more from Dr. Damuse about the evolution of cancer care in Haiti.

Thank you again for your generous support - it truly is what makes this work possible.


Jean Joel Saint Hubert, OB-GYN fellow
Jean Joel Saint Hubert, OB-GYN fellow

Thank you so much for supporting Partners In Health and University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti. We are excited to share with you a profile of one of University Hospital's four new OB-GYN residents. We encourage you to click the link at the bottom of the page to read about the rest of the residents and the hospital's growing program in obstetrics and gynecology.

Name: Jean Joel Saint Hubert

Hometown: Aquin

Age: 28

Did you always know you were going to be a doctor?

Yes, I knew since I was 16 years old. My aunt was a midwife and was always delivering babies. There was a time when she was by herself, her children weren’t there, and she called me to help with a birth. There were two people in labor, and she told me to stay in the room, watch the patient, and call her when I saw the baby’s head. I saw the head and called her, but she couldn’t come because she was with the other patient. 

So I put on gloves and held the baby’s head as the baby came out. The only thing I couldn’t do was cut the cord. Ever since then, everyone—even my friends—have called me ti doktè, which is Kreyol for “Little Doctor.” 

How do you like the residency program?

After the construction of the hospital, I always went and looked at PIH’s website. I saw information about the hospital and decided to go to Mirebalais because they have many programs that train Haitian doctors. I attended an orientation that detailed [PIH sister organization] Zanmi Lasante’s story, and physicians talked about how we have to consider patients and give them attention. I like Zanmi Lasante’s philosophy; I’m not just a doctor, I connect with my patients.



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Organization Information

Partners In Health (PIH)

Location: Boston, MA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Laura Soucy
Annual Giving Coordinator
Boston, MA United States

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