MSH Partners with Haitian Government to Rebuild Health System After Hurricane Matthew

Global Health NGO invited by Haitian government to assess health system needs and is deploying health workers to help respond to cholera outbreak

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(Medford, MA) MSH, a global health NGO with decades of experience in Haiti, has been invited by the Haitian government to play an important role in the recovery efforts of the country’s health system in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The storm, which killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands from their homes, has further weakened an already vulnerable health system, with an increasing cholera outbreak.  MSH will establish a small branch in the southern region of Les Cayes—one of the most affected areas—to offer staff training and help develop the capacity of health professionals who are coordinating response in the region.

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The Haitian Government has enlisted MSH’s assistance in conducting an assessment of the health system infrastructure and recommending a course of action for government agencies, NGOs, and humanitarian organizations participating in response and recovery efforts. MSH is also deploying healthcare workers to help Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population respond to a rising cholera outbreak.

“Our initial concern is meeting the health needs of the thousands of people who have been severely affected by the hurricane and are now living in a state of emergency and despair,” said Dr. Margareth Mallet, MSH’s Country Representative in Haiti. “But, ultimately, we want to fully restore routine health services to all, and continue our work to build a strong and resilient health system for our country.”

A preliminary assessment of health services indicated that the major hospitals in the Haitian Peninsula—namely the departmental hospitals in Jérémie, Les Cayes, and Miragoane—have been seriously affected, reducing their capacity to provide both emergency and routine services. In Les Cayes, patients had to be transferred to Hospital Lumière in Bonne Fin. Likewise, damage to facilities at the community level is reported to be serious enough to significantly impair delivery of health services for weeks to come. It has been reported that health services are temporarily being provided by mobile clinics and Haitian Red Cross field interventions and other local partners implementing health projects in these departments. Rehabilitation and re-equipping initiatives are planned for affected areas in the near future. 

The Ministry of Public Health and Population has confirmed an outbreak of cholera and other water-borne diseases, along with other common illnesses, such as pneumonia and other acute respiratory infections in children, and an increased risk of widespread severe acute malnutrition.

MSH will work with government, hospital, and health center pharmacies to facilitate transportation of drugs and medical supplies, and help procure and distribute water, hygiene kits, health kits, and water treatment products. MSH will help with sanitation, infection prevention, and communication on hygiene; strengthen community-based organizations’ activities to help prevent malnutrition and provide micronutrient supplementation; and mobilize community health workers already working on local projects to help identify and reach out to households in need.

MSH has been working in Haiti since 1980 and today continues to help all levels of the health system develop effective and efficient ways to address the needs of the Haitian people. MSH Haiti staff members, most of whom are Haitian, work throughout the country. MSH improves the capacity of local partners to lead, manage, and govern their organizations efficiently and effectively to improve organizational sustainability and enhance health services and outcomes. MSH’s activities range from strengthening the leadership and management skills of Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population to delivering quality family planning services to training local NGOs on human resource management, information systems, performance-based financing, and supply chain management.

"MSH is honored to have been invited by the Haitian Government to provide assistance in the country's Southern Region following Hurricane Matthew,“ said Paul Auxila, MSH Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “At the same time, we recognize our contribution is one of so many that are needed to not only meet the tremendous emergency health needs this devastation has created, but also prevent long-term effects on Haiti's health system and the people it serves. We offer our support and, most of all, our greatest sense of hope to Haiti."  

About MSH

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) saves lives and improves health by ensuring equitable access to health care for people most in need. For more than 40 years in over 150 countries, MSH has partnered with governments and communities to build strong, locally-led health systems that improve reproductive, maternal and child health, fight infectious disease, and control chronic illness. There are 12 million preventable deaths of the poorest and most vulnerable. MSH builds the right "systems for health" to help save millions of lives. MSH builds strong health systems that deliver everything it takes—people, money, medicine, information, and facilities—to prevent disease, treat illness, and empower people to lead healthier lives.  

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