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In Lascahobas, a small town in Haiti nearly three hours northeast of Port-au-Prince, a single health clinic serves a population of 70,000 people. The waiting room is constantly overcrowded. Between three and five pregnant women arrive each day needing labor and delivery services, but the clinic only has beds to accept two. In order to alleviate the strain of this clinic and to provide more services and improved conditions, AmeriCares has committed funding to build and equip a new medical facility to complement this clinic and to refurbish the existing one.
“Our efforts in Lascahobas have been hamstrung by lack of space, limiting what we can provide for our patients,” explained Dr. David Walton, a doctor for the aid group Partners In Health, which is overseeing the construction, staffing and maintenance of the facilities. “This new hospital will quite literally transform heath care delivery for thousands of people, increasing our ability to carry out our primary mission—creating an option for the poor in health care.”
Partners In Health (PIH) is a leader in treating tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in some of the poorest parts of the world. The organization has been providing health care solutions to the Haitians for 20 years. In that time PIH has built and developed an entire health care complex in the country that includes eight hospitals, giving them the ability to conduct one million patient visits each year. But it is not enough.
Critical NeedHaiti has the highest rate of infant, under-five and maternal morbidity in the Western Hemisphere. One out of every seventeen babies dies before his or her first birthday. Besides enduring poverty for decades and living in an area vulnerable to natural disasters, the people there have lived through ongoing civil strife which at times has become so violent that many have been cut off from basic services. Nearly two-thirds of the population lacks access to medicine, particularly those living in the rural countryside, such as Lascahobas.
“When I visited the area, it was clear that the people were in dire need of better and additional health care services,” says Christoph Gorder, AmeriCares VP of International Programs. “Witnessing how well PIH ran its existing operations made it an easy decision for us to help.”
Making a Difference
AmeriCares has contributed $470,000 to PIH for the project, which is already under construction. By adding a new facility and updating the existing clinic, PIH will provide four times as many beds to pregnant mothers, more than three times as many hospital beds, add modern surgical equipment and significantly decrease the patient wait time. The two locations combined will be able to comfortably see 500 patients per day, up from the 350 that stretch the capacity of the current clinic. As a result, in the first year, nearly 38,000 more people will receive care. One of the local midwives was elated at the news of an expanded clinic, saying it would greatly reduce maternal mortality rates.
For more about our work in Haiti, click here.