Top officials from Haiti’s government met with representatives from Partners In Health and Harvard Medical School Thursday to work on a plan to expand access to health and education in the country’s rural reaches.
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe met with PIH co-founders Dr. Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl to discuss plans to improve health systems and access to primary education. The government’s top officials in these areas, Minister of Health Florence Guillaume and Minister of Education Nesmy Manigat, also participated in the working meetings.
Farmer, in his capacity as chair of the HMS Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, welcomed Lamothe and his colleagues in the marble lobby of Gordon Hall.
“From the Dominican border all the way to the coast, across Haiti, PIH and Harvard have been partners with the Haitian health authorities for more than 20 years,” Farmer said. “Bringing these worlds together has been the secret of any success we've had, and we have every intention of being even closer partners in the future.”
It makes every Haitian proud to have such a hospital.
The Haitian government has been working to introduce or improve community pharmacies in remote parts of Haiti, where poor people either have no access to medicines or access only to overpriced, low-quality drugs, with the goal of integrating the community pharmacies with the MOH’s vision of community-based care. The group discussed those plans as well as the government’s efforts to expand access to primary education.
“I’m very honored and proud to be here today with these friends of Haiti,” Lamothe said. “I can see we’re in good hands.”
PIH staff included experts on supply chain management, generic drug procurement, community health, and medical education who advised the government officials on how to set up systems that could support high-quality community-based health care. The group promised to continue the conversations as the government rolls out its plans.
PIH representatives also provided an update on the first year of operations of University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, a public-private partnership between the Haitian government and PIH. Last year, the government of Haiti supported the hospital’s operating budget with $8 million sourced from multilateral post-earthquake relief funds.
“It makes every Haitian proud to have such a hospital,” Lamothe said. “I want to thank all of you who are putting your energy into the Haitian health system.”
In addition, PIH, HMS, and Haitian government officials discussed how Harvard medical specialists could help Haiti grow and train its health workforce through a similar program to the Human Resources for Health initiative in Rwanda. In discussions of primary education in Haiti, PIH, HMS, and government officials talked about better coordination of public and private education efforts to make a greater impact, including the idea of creating a model district in the central department of Haiti, where PIH’s sister organization, Zanmi Lasante, supports 10,000 students in attending school.
PIH and ZL have worked closely with the Haitian government to revitalize public health facilities throughout central Haiti. Today, PIH supports Ministry of Health facilities and health posts in the Central Plateau and the lower Artibonite department, bolstering staff, training, supplies, and infrastructure.