Partners In Health (PIH) has worked in Haiti for more than 25 years to help build and strengthen the country’s public health system. One of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti suffers a harsh cycle of poverty and disease. Life expectancy at birth is just 62 years, versus 81 in Canada. There are few trained health professionals to cope with the scale of health challenges. In 2013, there were just 25 physicians and 11 nurses for every 100,000 people. Haiti has also suffered considerably in recent years — nearly 300,000 people died in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, and half a million people suffered from a cholera epidemic in the same year.
PIH works closely with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and is the largest nongovernmental provider of health care in the country, operating clinics and hospitals at 11 sites, and with a staff of more than 5,000 Haitians.
PIH pioneered the use of community health workers to treat people suffering from tuberculosis and HIV. Additional long-term, innovative programs—cholera treatment and prevention, cancer detection and treatment, rehabilitative medicine, and mental health care—demonstrate that it is possible to provide the highest quality of care to the country’s poorest people.
In 2013, PIH opened a national referral and teaching hospital, University Hospital in Mirebalais, built in partnership with the Ministry of Health. The hospital provides free access to health care for more than 3.4 million people and is training the next generation of qualified health professionals to strengthen the country’s health system.
To address Haiti’s severe shortage of health care professionals, PIH and the Haitian government built University Hospital as a national teaching hospital—with the aim of training doctors and nurses. In 2013, the hospital launched its first residency programs. Medical residents receive world-class instruction from Haitian and international physicians, following a curriculum based on international standards. The nursing education program launches in 2014. PIH is committed to ensuring the sustainability of health care capacity at University Hospital and across Haiti by shaping public health education and building a workforce of expertly trained health professionals.
When 4-year-old Guerline Lucien suffered from malnutrition, her mother brought her to PIH’s clinic in Lascahobas. Guerline received Nourimanba, a peanut paste PIH manufactures that is fortified with vitamins crucial to physical and cognitive development. After two weeks, she was strong enough to go home. In Haiti, 30 percent of child deaths (kids under 5 years old) are due to chronic malnutrition. PIH operates a Nourimanba factory in Haiti to produce Nourimanba at no charge for patients.