In March, PIH and its sister Haitian organization Zanmi Lasante distributed food to 3,100 families who had lost their homes in the earthquake, in addition to almost 3,900 HIV and tuberculosis patients. The food was procured through a grant from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
Following the earthquake, over a million Haitians had lost their homes and jobs. Hunger and malnutrition are growing concerns, particularly for one of Zanmi Lasante’s most vulnerable patient populations—those living with HIV and tuberculosis. Without food, the complex course of medications needed to treat these diseases becomes essentially ineffective. As the Haitian saying goes, "Taking medicines without food is like washing your hands and drying them in dirt."
PIH/ZL has historically provided food to HIV and TB patients, and our team was already planning to scale up food distribution for these patients in 2010 even before the earthquake, in partnership with the WFP.
However, we quickly saw that we needed to expand the partnership as rapidly as possible, and a new plan was needed. The WFP agreed, and the new grant provides food for patients injured by the quake—both in-hospital and post-discharge.
For patients living in PIH/ZL hospitals or clinics, meals are prepared throughout the day by ZL-employed cooks. Patients who live outside our facilities receive a monthly food packet that contains enough food to sustain the patient and his or her family. These packets include: 55 lbs of rice, 22 lbs of beans, 10 lbs of vegetable oil, 27.5 lbs of a corn-soy blended meal, and 2.2 lbs of salt.
Each month, the outpatients come to one of nine PIH/ZL warehouses—facilities located throughout Haiti’s Central Plateau—both to be evaluated by nurses and to receive their food packet.
Since 2006, PIH/ZL and the WFP have collaborated to provide food to HIV/TB patients in Haiti’s Central Plateau—the region in which the majority of PIH/ZL facilities are located. Last year, that partnership resulted in monthly food distributions to 3,075 people living with HIV or tuberculosis—including a pilot project that distributed food to 375 HIV patients in the lower-Artibonite city of Petite Rivière.