During my visit to Haiti two years ago I had the privilege of visiting two hospitals: L’Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley and L’Hôpital Sainte-Thérèse in Hinche, Haiti. Many of the patients at both hospitals, I learned, walked or took public transport over long distances for quality hospital care. As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haitians need many more hospitals and health workers to care after their sick. There are currently only six health workers for every 10,000 Haitians according to USAID. And, Haiti has the highest rate of infant, child, and maternal mortality in the Western Hemisphere. Most Haitians live on less than $1 a day and their life expectancy is only 64 compared to 74 for its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.
Quality health care in Haiti continues to be one of the country’s greatest problems. In fact, Haiti only spends 6 percent of its expenditures on health care and relies heavily on international funding.
Realizing the growing need for hospitals in Haiti the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) opened the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Center for Health last week in partnership with Mercy Health, a Catholic healthcare system serving Ohio and Kentucky. Located in Côtes-de-Fer, the state-of-the art hospital will be the first of its kind in Haiti’s southern region where the population has lacked access to quality health care. The hospital will serve over 50,000 residents.
“By bringing together Haitian health professionals and modern equipment and health facilities, The Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Center for Health will make it possible to deliver high quality care in an area where many residents don’t have access to treatment,” said Dr. Dianne Jean-François, CMMB’s Country Director in Haiti. “With active involvement of the community, and an emphasis on training and knowledge sharing, the health center will strengthen the local health system in a long-term and sustainable way.”
The hospital will provide safe deliveries and surgeries, deliver antenatal, postnatal and pediatric care, and offer pharmacy services and a place to receive emergency care.
Visit CMMB.org for more information or to donate to a worthy cause. 98 percent of donations go to programs helping women, children and their communities.
Photos courtesy of CMMB.