Photos from the Field

Haiti 2010

The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, affected much of the country. It destroyed many government buildings, including the Ministry of Health, killed hundreds of ministry employees, and devastated the healthcare infrastructure. In July, Global Links CEO Kathleen Hower and Program Officer Marisol Wandiga traveled to Haiti to discuss collaborative projects addressing the country’s healthcare needs with PAHO and other aid organizations.

The epicenter of the earthquake was just outside densely populated Port-au-Prince. Rebuilding is proceeding very slowly, rubble is everywhere, and difficulties in removing it are hindering Haiti’s recovery.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links

The National Palace, designed in 1912 by Haitian architect Georges H. Baussan and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was destroyed.

One million Haitians are living in tent cities such as this one in Delmas, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.  Each tent typically houses a family of four and their belongings. 

There are 600 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with the United Nations healthcare cluster in Haiti, most of which are concentrated in the area of Port-au-Prince.  The Pan American Health Organization is responsible for overseeing the work of all of these NGOs.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links

With hospitals and clinics destroyed or overburdened, some of the NGOs, such as Unité de Recherche et d’Action Médico Légale (URAMEL), have set up clinics to provide basic primary care right in the tent cities. URAMEL is the only Haitian NGO among the 600 operating in the health cluster.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links

Global Links is working with PAHO to strengthen the health system outside Port-au-Prince. Through a partnership with Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC), Global Links will direct at least 13 shipments to hospitals and clinics where Haitian graduates from the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) in Cuba are working with Haitian and Cuban medical staff. This project promotes a sustainable and community-based approach to medical relief and reconstruction by empowering highly-trained health care professionals already working in Haiti, and involves 22 community reference hospitals and 30 rehab centers. One of the rehab centers that will be supported, shown here, is located in Hôpital Universitaire de la Paix in Delmas.

Prior to the earthquake, there was no physical therapy specialty or services offered in the public health system in Haiti. Since the disaster, the urgent need for physical therapy has motivated more ELAM graduates to pursue a specialty in PT. In the background, Dr. Bernandin Petit-Phard - an ELAM graduate completing his second year of surgery residency – observes a Cuban physical therapist working with a patient.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links

Building relationships with the healthcare personnel with whom we work is essential to ensure that Global Links’ donations are appropriate. Here, Dr. Petit-Phard and Dr. Carlos Guillén Rodríguez, key contacts at the Hôpital Universitaire de la Paix, pose with Global Links CEO Kathleen Hower and Program Officer Marisol Wandiga.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links

Hôpital Comunitaire de Référence (previously known as Sant Dyagnostik Entegral Mibalé), about 35 miles north of Port-au-Prince in Mirebalais, is one of 11 – soon to be 12 - hospitals built throughout Haiti by a collaboration between the governments of Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela and the Ministry of Health in Haiti. Although these new hospitals are well designed and furnished, there are still considerable needs for supplies and specialty furnishings and equipment that Global Links will be providing.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links

While visiting Hôpital Comunitaire de Reference in Mirebalais, Global Links staff were privileged to witness the birth of a Haitian family’s first-born son. Although the baby wasn’t breathing upon delivery, with the assistance of a Cuban neonatologist, the baby was revived and placed in the arms of his proud parents.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links

Global Links is proud to be part of a multi-national healthcare project that aims at building a network of care throughout Haiti. This type of coordinated approach has the best chance of building and maintaining a public health system that works for the entire population.

Lynn Johnson for Global Links