Zanmi Lasante, known as Partners in Health traces its origins back to 1985 when Paul Farmer, a medical student at Harvard, and Ophelia Dahl, a 19-year-old social activist helped a local priest launch a rudimentary clinic in the impoverished village of Cange in central Haiti. In 1987, Farmer, Dahl, and three others officially established Partners in Health at Harvard University to address the entwined epidemics of poverty and disease. Today, ZL ranks as one of the largest nongovernmental health care providers in Haiti – and the only provider of comprehensive primary care, regardless of ability to pay, for more than half a million impoverished people living in the mountainous Central Plateau.
That first modest clinic in Cange has grown into the flagship Zanmi Lasante Sociomedical Complex, featuring a 104-bed, full-service hospital with two operating rooms, adult and pediatric inpatient wards, an infectious disease center, an outpatient clinic, a women’s health clinic (Proje Sante Fanm), ophthalmology and general medicine clinics, a laboratory, a pharmaceutical warehouse, a Red Cross blood bank, radiographic services, and a dozen schools.
Parnters in Health earthquake response:
• PIH quickly established field hospitals in Port-au-Prince, helping set up 20 operating rooms, 12 of which were able to function around the clock.
• PIH established a comprehensive triage and relief transfer system to move patients back and forth from Port-au-Prince to PIH sites in the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite Valley.
• PIH is evacuating patients in critical condition to hospitals in the United States and Dominican Republic as well as to the U.S.N.S. Comfort.
• PIH has sent 66 plane loads with more than 235 medical volunteers – orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical nurses and other medical professionals – and roughly 100,000 lbs of medical supplies to support the large network of PIH’s local health care providers already working 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.
Looking ahead, PIH’s efforts will be spent in three core areas:
1) supporting the public sector’s ability to provide health care;
2) mobilizing people at the grassroots level to participate in the health care system; and
3) addressing the mid- and long-term health, social, and economic ramifications of the resettlement of tens of thousands of people from Port-au-Prince to areas where PIH works.
Partners in Health has been working successfully in Haiti for over twenty years and is committed to being there long into the future. PIH is the perfect example of doing good well. Please consider making a contribution to Partners in Health.