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Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante to open IHRC-facilitated public hospital in early 2012

MIREBALAIS, Haiti, May 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The PIH/ZL-MSPP Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais, a major public health services and medical training facility in Haiti's Central Plateau approved by the Board of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) in August 2010, is quickly moving toward completion, having passed the 50 percent completion point this May.

The project was approved in response to a Haitian Ministry of Public Health's (MSPP) request, and  its development is being led by international NGO Partners In Health (PIH) and their Haitian sister organization, Zanmi Lasante (ZL).  Situated in the town of Mirebalais, which sits at an important crossroads some 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, the 200,000 square foot, seven-building facility will have upon completion -- a 320-bed capacity, six operating rooms and an intensive care unit.

"The PIH/ZL-MSPP Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais exemplifies the positive partnerships that are being forged between the Government of Haiti, international and Haitian NGOs like PIH and ZL, and the IHRC.  We're excited about the prospects that the hospital presents to Haitians living here on the Central Plateau, and we're hopeful that the collaborative process by which the hospital is being developed will be a model for future reconstruction projects here in Haiti," said Dr. Claire Pierre, who leads the IHRC health sector.

PIH/ZL-MSPP Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais' core functions – regional healthcare facility and teaching hospital – are in line with the IHRC health sector's goals of building back a better, more robust national healthcare network and partnering with the Haitian Ministry of Public Health to jumpstart training programs for healthcare professionals.

Upon completion, the facility will offer comprehensive, quality medical services to the 140,000 Haitians who reside in Mirebalais and surrounding areas in the country's Centre and Artibonite Departments.  Specific clinical services provided by PIH/ZL-MSPP Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais will include primary care, pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgical intensive care, infectious disease services, mental health and social services, women's and reproductive healthcare, and rehabilitative medicine.

PIH/ZL-MSPP Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais will also serve a critical role as a training center for Haitian medical professionals, including nurses, medical students and resident physicians.  The hospital will thus help Haiti to increase its medical professional ranks, which were badly impacted when many of the country's young medical and nursing students tragically lost their lives in the January 2010 earthquake.  Teaching facilities will include a theatre-style operating room for medical students to observe surgical procedures firsthand and onsite student dormitories.

"This hospital is the culmination of a dream dating back a quarter century, and underlines our commitment to the country and people of Haiti, which is stronger than ever after the earthquake," said Dr. Paul Farmer, who co-founded Partners In Health some twenty-five years ago.

Beyond its direct functions, PIH/ZL-MSPP Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais will play an important part in the Government ofHaiti's long-term goal of national decentralization.  Upon completion, the project will create a new economic center of gravity for the region and afford residents of the Centre and Artibonite Departments access to high quality healthcare close to home.  In fact, the project is already making a positive impact on the local economy and population, having provided meaningful employment to over 600 Haitians to date, and contributing to job creation, which is one of the IHRC's key reconstruction sectors.  When it opens its doors, PIH/ZL-MSPP Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais will create additional jobs for area Haitians, in addition to training medical professionals.

About the Implementers

Partners In Health was co-founded 24 years ago by Dr. Paul Farmer, Chair of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.  From its beginnings at Cange, a small squatter settlement up the road from Mirebalais, the organization has continued to provide healthcare to people in the country's rural regions and through its work has earned broad recognition as one of the leading health programs in the developing world.  Zanmi Lasante, which translates to "Partners In Health" in Haitian creole, has grown in parallel with PIH over the decades, beginning at the clinic in Cange and expanding to serve a region that is home to 1.2 million Haitians.  Zanmi Lasante now employs over 4,000 people, almost all of them Haitians, including doctors, nurses and community health workers.

To date, Dr. Farmer and his colleagues at Partners In Health and Zanmi Lasante have secured over 60% of the $16 millionneeded to fully fund the project.   All monies have come from private donors – individuals, foundations, corporations, and gifts in-kind.

About the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission

The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) was created by presidential decree on April 21, 2010, in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. The mission of the IHRC is to undertake the expeditious planning, coordination, and facilitation of development projects and priorities, including reviewing and approving projects and programs funded by bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs and the private sector. The IHRC is co-chaired by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and President Bill Clinton and is guided by a Board, which includes Haitian and non-Haitian stakeholders in reconstruction efforts.

Facility Highlights:

  • Expanded clinical service capacity and advanced facility design:
  • The hospital will feature multiple intensive care units with advanced life-saving equipment, including full ventilatory support and monitoring
  • Operating theatre complex that will include six operating rooms capable of accommodating complex procedures
  • Sophisticated laboratory services, including microbiology
  • Advanced diagnostics suites with digital radiology capabilities
  • Full body Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scanning capability
  • Improving health professional training capacity through design and technology:
  • Patient beds spaced to accommodate teaching rounds for students
  • Modern internet and communications technologies to support educational exchanges, distance learning, and remote collaborations
  • Multiple offices, classrooms, and conference rooms
  • Student and staff dormitories
  • Ensuring high quality, reliable care through functional systems innovations:
  • State-of-the-art infection control measures integrated into all patient care spaces, including ultraviolet lighting, ultra-filtered HVAC systems, an advanced sterilization system for surgical instruments, and seamless flooring in the operating theatre complex and laboratory space
  • Wall-mounted oxygen and medical gases for inpatient beds
  • Potable, running water throughout all buildings
  • Reliable electricity and internet technologies functionally integrated into each building
  • Fully accessible medical services throughout for persons with disabilities
  • Minimizing environmental impact via green design and construction techniques:
  • Photovoltaic solar panels oriented towards direct sunlight to generate supplemental electricity
  • Ultra-high-efficiency ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • Extensive use of natural ventilation and shading
  • Energy-saving Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights throughout the hospital

For more information about Partners in Health and their programs, go to www.pih.org.

For information about the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, please visit www.cirh.ht.

SOURCE Interim Haiti Recovery Commission