[Just over a year ago, on April 21, 2011, an arson attack on a Zanmi Lasante (ZL) staff residence in Belladère killed two beloved members of the PIH/ZL family -- head laboratory technician Phyzeme Isly and Olivier, the three-year-old son of senior midwife Claudine Jean Gilles, who also suffered serious injuries herself, along with her 10-month-old daughter. The attack on ZL and government facilities came in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of final election results for local officials in Belladère. ZL was forced to withdraw temporarily from Belladère but has since resumed working at the Ministry of Health's Hôpital de la Nativité. On April 20, 2012, ZL and the community gathered together to mourn and remember the victims on the anniversary of the attack, as recounted by Dr. Nixon Eustache of Zanmi Lasante.]
WE REMEMBER ... APRIL 20, 2011 - APRIL 20, 2012
By Nixon Eustache, Zanmi Lasante, Haiti
As a native of Belladère and the medical director for the county, I was very honored to see the community gather at the hospital to observe a moment of silence in memory of our colleague, Phyzeme Isly, and to pray for Claudine and her family. We thought about little Olivier who innocently lost his life in this terrible event.
Patients, staff, and local leaders were in attendance. They offered words of peace and gratitude, and some of them shared very moving memories of their experiences with Phyzeme and Claudine.
Members of the community also expressed words of gratitude to the members of the staff who returned and continued delivering care to the community. They remember how they suffered a year ago, during the time we had to stop our work in the area.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my coworkers and Zanmi Lasante/Partners In Health’s family for their courage and their support. While we are asking for justice for Phyzeme and Olivier and the many who died in the violence, we will continue our work. We know that we have a mission to deliver quality health care to the poorest of the poor, “whatever it takes.” This is Zanmi Lasante/Partners in Health.