Update: January 14, 2010, 10:00pm
Stand with Haiti!
Partners In Health is launching a new website to keep our supporters up-to-date with our efforts in Hait. Please join us at www.standwithhaiti.org. This will be the final update on this webpage, all new updates will be posted on www.standwithhaiti.org. Thanks for your support!
Update: January 14, 2010, 8:00pm
Assessing immediate needs
PIH has been working very closely with the UN, Government of Haiti, United States Government, other non-profit organizations and relief agencies to determine the immediate needs for Port au Prince and the surrounding areas. An initial needs assessment identifies the following immediate needs, which will be addressed through a coordinated effort of public, private, and civilian sector organizations:
- Reopen the airport
- Repair cell phone communication systems
- Clear main roads from debris
- Send in search and rescue teams
- Set-up protected shelters throughout the city in strategic public places all over the city that have food, water, and basic medical and surgical services. These shelter sites should be close to large slums.
- Procure and distribute clean water
- Procure, distribute, and stock food
- Procure, distribute, and stock basic medical and surgical kits and IV fluids at mobile clinic points throughout the city
- Increase medical and surgical capacity at all large medical institutions with three centers focused on specialized surgical interventions.
- Ensure rapid disposal of all bodies
- Conduct a rapid assessment of places to build new homes for homeless
In the immediate term, PIH is paying particular attention to the immediate medical and surgical needs.
Update: January 14, 2010, 6:30pm
Setting up mobile clinics in Port-au-Prince
In the Delmas section of Port-au-Prince, Dr. Patrick Almazor of PIH/Zanmi Lasante reports that he and several other doctors have set up mobile clinics. “We have a lot of fractures,” he wrote in an email. “We are running out of meds, I’m on my way to St Marc [a facility operated by PIH's partner organization Zanmi Lasante] for supplies.”
Update: January 14, 2010, 5:30pm
TONIGHT: Tracy Kidder on the Rachel Maddow Show
Tune into MSNBC tonight at 9:20 EST to watch Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Tracy Kidder discuss the situation in Haiti with Rachel Maddow. Tracy is the author of the best-selling book Mountains Beyond Mountains.
Update: January 14, 2010, 4:00pm
Trip to Port-au-Prince reveals more of the tragedy
A report from Cate Oswald, one of our staff in Haiti, reveals a tragedy more dire than we could have ever expected. Yesterday, she traveled through the Central Plateau to Port-au-Prince and back with our two trucks of meds and supplies. She described the scene:
We started seeing destruction from Mt. Cabrit (where big rocks lie in the middle of the road) through Croix de Bouquets where it doesn't seem as bad but lots of walls down. Then the scene gets much, much worse. Tonight, everywhere throughout the city, as we drove by the national plaza, there are thousands of people sleeping outside. While I was in Port-au-Prince, there were still aftershocks being felt. I didn't venture into other parts of the city, but as you all know, koze sa pa jwet menm [Haitian saying literally translated as “this is not a game”].
The trucks met up with PIH staff, including Dr. Louise Ivers in Port-au-Prince, at the UN’s Log Base in Port-au-Prince. Louise was one of two doctors attending at the time, and they had nothing but aspirin until our trucks showed up. The conditions are horrific and people are dying, but in Cate’s report she was hopeful that the supplies will help those at Log Base for the time being.
Importantly, given the patients already flowing out of Port-au-Prince to St. Marc and our other facilities outside the city, we cannot leave our hospitals understaffed. So we are recruiting surgeons, anesthetists, nurses, and other medical professionals to go down in the next couple of days to help with staffing, particularly as many of our staff have lost family members and friends.
There are still a handful of our colleagues unaccounted for – we continue to have every hope that it is due to lack of ability to communicate via telephone and the lack of electricity for computers, but we do not know.
Update: January 13, 2010, 7:30pm
Wanted: Surgeons, nurses, and other medical personnel to help in Haiti
We are deeply grateful for the multitude of people who have contacted us wanting to provide medical assistance. At this time, while we wish we could use all of the support so generously offered, we are unable to accommodate any volunteers without significant surgical or trauma training and experience.
We are in need of: orthopedic surgeons, trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, OR nurses, post-op nurses, and surgical technicians. If your qualifications match this need, please fill out this form.
Once again – thank you for your support. Kenbe fèm.
Update: January 13, 2010, 4:00pm
PIH teams in Boston and Haiti organizing earthquake relief efforts
Over the past 18 hours, Partners In Health staff in Boston and Haiti have been working to collect as much information as possible about the conditions on the ground, the relief efforts taking shape, and all relevant logistics issues in order to respond efficiently and effectively to the most urgent needs in the field. At the moment, PIH’s Chief Medical Officer is on her way to Haiti, where she will meet with Zanmi Lasante leadership and head physicians, who are already working to ensure PIH’s coordinated relief efforts leveraging the skills of more than 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants who work at Zanmi Lasante’s sites.
We have already begun to implement a two-part strategy to address the immediate need for emergency medical care in Port-au-Prince. First, we are organizing the logistics to get the medical staff and supplies needed for setting up field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince where we can triage patients, provide emergency care, and send those who need surgery or more complex treatment to our functioning hospitals and surgical facilities. To do this, we are creating a supply chain through the Dominican Republic. Second, we are ensuring that our facilities in the Central Plateau are ready to serve the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince. Operating and procedure rooms are staffed, supplied, and equipped for surgeries and we have converted a church in Cange into a large triage area. Already our sites in Cange and Hinche are reporting a steady flow of people coming with medical needs from the capital city. In the days that come we will need to make sure our pharmacies and supplies stay stocked and our staff continue to be able to respond.
Currently, our greatest need is financial support. Haiti is facing a crisis worse than it has seen in years, and it is a country that has faced years of crisis, both natural disaster and otherwise. The country is in need of millions of dollars right now to meet the needs of the communities hardest hit by the earthquake. Our facilities are strategically placed just two hours outside of Port-au-Prince and will inevitably absorb the flow of patients out of the city. In addition, we need cash on-hand to quickly procure emergency medical supplies, basic living necessities, as well as transportation and logistics support for the tens of thousands of people that will be seeking care at mobile field hospitals in the capital city. Any and all support that will help us respond to the immediate needs and continue our mission of strengthening the public health system in Haiti is greatly appreciated. Help us stand up for Haiti now.
If you are not in a position to make a financial contribution, you can help us raise awareness of the earthquake tragedy. Please alert your friends to the situation and direct them to this webpage for updates and ways to help.
Update: January 12, 2010, 8:00pm
Major earthquake hits Haiti
A major earthquake centered just 10 miles from Port-au-Prince has devastated sections of the city and knocked out telephone communications throughout the country. Reached via email, Partners In Health staff at our facilities in the Central Plateau report that they experienced a strong shock but no major damage or injuries. We are still attempting to establish contact with other PIH facilities and to locate several staff members who were traveling in and around Port-au-Prince.
The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country. A massive and immediate international response is needed to provide food, water, shelter, and medical supplies for tens of thousands of people.
In an urgent email from Port-au-Prince, Louise Ivers, our clinical director in Haiti, appealed for assistance from her colleagues in the Central Plateau: "Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS... Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us."
With our hospitals and our highly trained medical staff in place in Haiti, Partners In Health is already mobilizing resources and preparing plans to bring medical assistance and supplies to areas that have been hardest hit. In Boston, our procurement and development teams are already fielding numerous offers of support and making arrangements to deliver resources as quickly as possible to the places where they are needed most.