Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Partners in Health is one of the leading medical mission organizations operating here in Haiti. They have a huge presence in the Central Plateau and are very well respected by the people. We have sent people out to their Cange Hospital when we couldn't get care here in Port-au-Prince in the past. This organization will be building a teaching hospital in Mirebalais with funding from the IHRC (Interim Haiti Recovery Commission). You can count on the hospital being built well. Dr. Paul Farmer is an American who is the driving force behind Partners in Health and he is a very determined individual. Dr. Ariel Henry who is a Haitian neurosurgeon is part of the Ministry of Health. He has helped us several times in the past at removing infected shunts and has even performed some shunt surgeries for some of the children we were trying to find help for. He never charged us for his services. Pray for the planning and construction going into this new teaching hospital and for Haitian neurosurgeons to be trained at this new hospital. It is great to hear about progress being made in Haiti!

The reggae band Steel Pulse has written a song called Hold on 4 Haiti and are giving the proceeds for solar electrification of the Partners in Health medical clinics. To watch a video of this STEP/PIH project follow the link to:

Steel Pulse - Partners in Health - Hold On 4 Haiti

Below is an article about the new teaching hospital being built in Mirebalais.


(Miami Herald) - By Jacqueline Charles

MIREBALAIS, Haiti -- When a new teaching hospital opens in this central Haiti town a little over a year from now, it will be far more than a 320-bed, six operating room facility.

Local and international doctors say it will represent a towering example of post-earthquake recovery.

``It's going to be a world-class hospital in the middle of central Haiti,'' said Dr. Paul Farmer, who has dedicated his life to improving healthcare for the poor in an impoverished Haiti and serves as deputy to United Nations Special Envoy Bill Clinton.

The hospital in the town of Mirebalais, 90 minutes north of quake-ravaged Port-au-Prince along a new asphalt highway through the central mountains, was in the planning stages long before the Jan. 12 quake.

But after the quake killed an estimated 300,000 Haitians -- including nursing students attending classes -- and badly damaged both the nearby public hospital and medical school, Haitian officials asked to accelerate construction and expand the teaching hospital.

No problem, said Farmer, a Harvard medical school professor whom Clinton asked after the earthquake to help coordinate new healthcare facilities and medical care for the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.

Farmer's Partners In Health, a nongovermental organization that runs about a dozen public hospitals with nearly all Haitian staffers along with Haiti's Ministry of Health, sought the blessing of the commission for the facility. Ground was broken for the hospital on Friday.

``Dr. Farmer's hospital ensures high quality training for more doctors and healthcare workers. It is an example of the significant opportunities that exist to help Haitians to build back better,'' Clinton told The Miami Herald. ``In the coming weeks, Prime Minister [Jean-Max] Bellerive and I are hopeful the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission will approve and fund many more reconstruction projects in order to help create a more prosperous future for the Haitian people.''

The hospital's construction is expected to take 18 months, and it is among 29 projects, totaling $1.6 billion, that were approved last month by the commission. Supporters say it's a significant step in what some have criticized as a slow recovery, and symbolizes where the Haitian government wants to go as it rebuilds: decentralizing the teeming capital by building facilities elsewhere, even in communities that were not badly hit by the disaster.

But the project also speaks to the ongoing challenges in achieving that effort. Only $10 million of the $15 million has been funded, and efforts are under way to raise the remaining money.

Despite a show of support for Haiti in the months after the quake, only 18 percent of the $5.3 billion pledged by international donors over the next two years has been disbursed, according to the U.N. Special Envoy's website.

Clinton, who co-chairs the recovery commission with Bellerive, has promised to personally lobby donors. He also has asked commission members to start approving projects in hopes of building donors' confidence and speeding up aid.

Still, the trickling of aid is frustrating, say those involved in rebuilding.

``Haiti is really difficult, but it's not an excuse not to work with the Haitian government, the Haitian people,'' Dr. David Walton, deputy director for Partners In Health, said as he prepped the site last week for the ground-breaking. ``The government is trying but it's difficult when you don't have the resources.''

Walton said it is possible to get things done in Haiti.

``If you have resources, if you have accountability, financial transparency and if you have will,'' he said. ``What Haiti needs is a major medical center in the Central Plateau that can serve complex medical cases. . . . Haiti cannot depend on and should not depend on aid groups to be able to provide medical care.''

Haiti doesn't just need a large hospital in the Central Plateau, it also needs to train pharmacists, lab technicians and nurse practitioners, said Dr. Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon and chief of cabinet for the Health Ministry.

``As a result of the earthquake, we lost health facilities, health training centers and human resources,'' he said, adding that Haiti already had a dearth of technicians and pharmacists before the quake.

Henry said the Mirebalais hospital, which will train these healthcare providers along with doctors and nurses, is among several the ministry plans to build. ``We don't want to put all of our assets in Port-au-Prince,'' he said.

Before the quake, the Mirebalais hospital was supposed to be a modest facility, not that much different from the community hospital Farmer designed in Lascahobas, another village in central Haiti.

That hospital, run by Haitians, cost $700,000. Farmer has always lauded the price in his speeches about how hospitals in Haiti do not need to cost tens of millions of dollars to build.

Then came the Jan. 12 earthquake.

``We just knew that it would not be a good learning environment for . . . clinical rotations,'' Farmer said about the quake-damaged Port-au-Prince general hospital.

``We went and talked to the minister [of health] and some of the deans, and they said build a big hospital, build it three times [larger than] you planned and make it a good teaching hospital.''

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