Patients are transferred to PIH/ZL-supported University Hospital of Mirebalais in the days following the earthquake in southern Haiti. Photos by Nadia Torres for Partners In Health
On the morning of August 14th, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, leaving thousands dead, injured, and displaced. The epicenter occurred approximately 150 miles west of Port-au-Prince, largely affecting the cities of Les Cayes (the capital of the South, or Sud) and Jérémie (the capital of Grand Anse). The earthquake comes on the heels of recent political and civil unrest; impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic; and worsening circumstances for Haitians already experiencing extreme poverty, limited access to health care, and food and economic insecurity.
Partners In Health (PIH) and our sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), mobilized an immediate response to this devastating emergency, and now, PIH/ZL’s efforts have transitioned from immediate response efforts to the recovery phase. PIH/ZL’s emergency response and long-term recovery efforts center on partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health and support that reinforces local partners and the broader public health system. Specifically, PIH/ZL’s approach has been guided by three strategies:
- Mobilizing a rapid response directly in the earthquake zone and building partnerships with local partners for medium to long-term response efforts;
- Reinforcing PIH/ZL’s network of health systems to provide urgent care and support the continuum of care for all patients, now and in the future; and
- Strengthening Haiti’s public sector for the long term.
Some key progress achieved:
- PIH/ZL provided social support packages to 257 patients affected by the earthquake and provided psychosocial assistance to more than 2,100 patients.
- Via mobile clinics, a total of 18,961 patients were seen in the hard-hit areas of Grand-Anse and Sud.
- PIH/ZL transported up to 209 medical and consumables items, to the earthquake zone, including 29 items to Health Equity International’s St. Boniface Hospital and 181 items to the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) in the greater southern regions.
- PIH/ZL provided six training sessions from January 24, 2022 to February 4, 2022, by two PIH/ZL teams in the southern regions.
- PIH/ZL continued a robust vaccination effort across its 17 supported health facilities throughout the regions of the lower Artibonite and Central Plateau.
- PIH/ZL provided direct financial support to 258 employees whose families were affected by the earthquake, with assistance totaling over $247,000.
PIH/ZL’s earthquake response has ensured that immediate support was provided to address the most urgent needs of those affected by the earthquake, while ensuring that emergency response efforts were integrated into a longer-term commitment to strengthen the health system for the long term. Looking forward, PIH/ZL’s earthquake response and recovery strategy will continue to center on strengthening Haiti’s public health sector, building capacity through education and training of the Haitian health workforce, and prioritizing support for the most vulnerable.
On behalf of those we serve, thank you for your partnership to support the thousands of Haitians impacted by the earthquake and to advance a more equitable health system that can fulfill the right to health care for all in Haiti.
Partners In Health
Dr. Rimpel (red shirt, scarf, glasses), chief of emergency medicine at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, leads an emergency medicine training session at the Partners In Health offices in Boston. Photo by Nina Peskanov for Partners In Health