PIH Executive Director Ophelia Dahl writes from Boston:
Since Tuesday evening, PIH staff has been working around the clock to bring relief to the people of Haiti who are suffering immensely in the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake. You have seen the images on the news, read the updates on the web, and responded in a profoundly generous way to our calls for help - we are indebted to you for your quick mobilization and generous contributions.
Our team, because of our deep roots in Haiti, was able to be among the first to respond with emergency medical services. Since the first days, our staff has stepped up to take on the challenge of serving the most vulnerable in Port-au-Prince and of providing comprehensive care ranging from basic primary care to complicated surgical services at our sites in the Central Plateau and Artibonite Valley. Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer wrote yesterday, "We find that years of investment in building a strong local partner organization mean that we are again in the position of responding effectively to a natural disaster. We are very proud of our team."
All of this work-our years of investment and our ability to respond is made possible because of people like you who do not become paralyzed in the face of suffering but rather stand up and help serve.
Yesterday, Dr. Farmer arrived in Port-au-Prince to check in with our team and to meet with Government and UN officials. Since his visit, we have already seen the tide begin to change - this morning, the PIH/Zanmi Lasante team was designated by the World Health Organization to serve as the coordinators of the public hospital, Hopital de l' Universite d'Etat d'Haiti (HUEH), where thousands are suffering in need of medicines and surgeries. In this new role, we will be supporting the administration and staff and recruiting other NGOs to help restore services, particularly triage, nursing, and surgical, at the city's central hospital. Our priority is to increase stock of medicines and supplies, ensure steadily functioning operating rooms, and guarantee sufficient medical staff is available, particularly for nursing care to help with post-op recovery, iv management, and other care that has had to be self managed over the past three days.
With supply chains in place and flights arriving more consistently in Port-au-Prince since the air traffic control has been reinstated, today has already been a turning point in our ability to respond to the enormity of the devastation and really get the field hospitals and public hospitals up and running. We have two planes of surgeons and surgical supplies arriving within hours, we have fuel on its way to Haiti through the DR, and we are reallocating supplies from our ten sites to where they are needed most on a regular basis.
It is clear to us all that relief for Haiti must rely on our collective immediate response and our sustained long-term commitment to building back better. Our approach to health care delivery in resource-poor settings-partnering with the public sector, employing locally, and investing for the long-term-is a key part of the solution for Haiti now and in the future. We hope that you will continue to stand with Haiti now and in the months and years to come.
Thank you for your solidarity during this crisis,