Partners In Health: Fri., 1/22 Report From Haiti

Jan 22, 2010, 16:55 ET from Partners In Health

BOSTON, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following release was issued today by Partners In Health:

"In Haiti, it continues to be a race against time to provide urgent medical care to people who are injured and sick. But we must also focus on the long-term implications presented by a new, large group of vulnerable and displaced people in Haiti. PIH has the expertise and commitment to stand with Haiti for many years to come. Events like MTV's Hope for Haiti telethon tonight bring this tragedy into peoples' living rooms and present an immediate opportunity to help, and for that we are grateful." -- Ophelia Dahl, Executive Director, PIH

The latest on-the-ground developments as reported by the PIH team in Haiti this morning:

  • In spite of the recent aftershocks, which have caused temporary evacuations at medical facilities in some locations, the PIH team reports having gotten 24 operating rooms up and running, providing urgent care 24 hours per day, including 12 at the central University Hospital in Port-au-Prince (HUEH) and seven at four of our medical facilities outside the capital. Now that a hospital ship has arrived in Port-au-Prince, PIH is also coordinating efforts airlifting critical patients to USNS Comfort from HUEH at a rate of as many as 8 patients per hour during the daylight hours.
  • PIH has had great success assembling surgical teams, transporting them to Haiti, and putting them immediately to work. At last count, more than 140 surgeons, nurses, anesthetists and other specialists had arrived, allowing our operating rooms to run at full capacity around the clock. But our team in Haiti continues to report a great need for additional medicines (antibiotics, anesthesia and narcotics), medical equipment (anesthesia machines and x-rays), medical supplies (IVs, tubing, irrigating saline), and water. PIH is calling on the international community to continue to send critical medical equipment and supplies.
  • A team of PIH's Haitian doctors is systematically seeking out and bringing medical care to communities of people in Port-au-Prince who have not received any relief services in the 10 days since the earthquake. Led by Dr. Fernet Leandre, head of PIH's HIV and TB programs in Haiti, the team is conducting mobile clinics to triage and treat patients and is arranging transportation for Haitians needing critical care.  For example, PIH doctor Gregory Jerome organized a mobile clinic for a group of people who had established an encampment in a park near his home, some of whom needed urgent medical care. While the international response to the disaster has lagged, Haitian communities have rallied together in this fashion at hundreds of locations, where they have organized and shared what limited resources are available. PIH is reaching out to assist these self-organized communities as the foundation of our medical response and calls on the international community to recognize and take guidance from them as a way to distribute food, water, shelter, sanitation and other essential services equitably and efficiently.
  • Ophelia Dahl, Executive Director of PIH, is scheduled to land in Port-au-Prince later this afternoon to meet with the PIH team.
  • Partners In Health will be one of five organizations benefiting from the most widely distributed telethon in history, Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief hosted by MTV. The telethon runs tonight from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm (7:00 pm CST) and will air on all the major networks.
  • James Taylor is playing a beneficiary concert for Partners In Health tonight in Great Barrington, MA. The concert has already raised $300,000 to benefit PIH.  A second "Help for Haiti: An Intimate Evening with James Taylor" concert has been scheduled for Saturday, January 23 at 8 pm.

About Partners in Health

Founded in 1987 by Dr. Paul Farmer, Partners In Health (PIH) is an international health care organization based in Boston that works in 12 countries to deliver high quality health care and to break the cycle of disease and poverty.

PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is one of the largest health care providers in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. 

PIH had more than 100 doctors, 600 nurse and 4,000 employees on the ground in Haiti working from 12 existing PIH medical facilities in Haiti before the earthquake struck on January 12th.

STAND WITH HAITI: PIH Immediate Response to Earthquake in Haiti

  • PIH quickly established field hospitals in Port-au-Prince, and currently has 20 operating rooms up and running, with 12 functioning 24-hours a day.  PIH has been designated by the World Health Organization to serve as the primary coordinators of University Hospital in Port-au-Prince (HUEH).
  • PIH established a relief transfer system to transfer patients from Port-au-Prince (HUEH) to PIH sites in the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite Valley, which includes 12 clinical facilities already treating patients.
  • PIH was one of the first NGOs to evacuate patients in critical condition to hospitals in the United States and Dominican Republic and is now coordinating the evacuation of patients in critical condition to the United States Naval Ship, the U.S.S. Comfort.
  • PIH has sent 22 plane loads with more than 140 medical volunteers -- orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical nurses and other medical professionals -- and several thousand pounds of medical supplies to support the more than 4,500 PIH health care providers already in Haiti.
  • The long-term ramifications in Haiti are going to be significant and far-reaching with a new, large group of vulnerable and displaced people. PIH has the experience and commitment to Stand with Haiti for many years to come.

SOURCE Partners In Health