Hôpital Albert Schweitzer

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Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti
Geography
Location Haiti
Coordinates 19°04′28″N 72°29′28″W / 19.074394°N 72.491035°W / 19.074394; -72.491035 (Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti)Coordinates: 19°04′28″N 72°29′28″W / 19.074394°N 72.491035°W / 19.074394; -72.491035 (Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti)
Links
Lists Hospitals in Haiti

Since 1956, Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) has provided healthcare to the medically underserved population of the Lower Artibonite Valley in central Haiti—healthcare that, in many cases, would otherwise be unavailable. HAS’s commitment to providing high quality healthcare to those who are most in need is based not on the principles of humanitarian aid, but on essential human rights. HAS recognizes that the economic health of Haiti depends on the physical health of its people.

HAS is a rural healthcare system that includes a 131-bed hospital located in Deschapelles, which is approximately 54 km north of the capital, Port-au-Prince. It is the only full-service hospital in the region serving a population of more than 350,000 people over a 610 square-mile area. With a team of doctors, nurses, and community health workers, HAS delivers 24/7 healthcare services, as well as community-based programs that help address the root causes of some of the country’s most challenging health issues. HAS provides surgical services, internal medicine, pediatric and maternal care, diagnostic services, and rehabilitation.

History[edit]

HAS was founded by Dr. Larry Mellon (1910–1989) and Mrs. Gwen Mellon (1908–2000), who were inspired by the Nobel Prize-winning humanitarian work of Dr. Albert Schweitzer. In 1947, the Mellons began a correspondence with Dr. Schweitzer that would endure for nearly two decades, until his death in 1965. The immediate impact of their communication was a decision by the Mellons to establish a hospital in the Western Hemisphere to provide compassionate, lifesaving healthcare to patients who are among the most vulnerable in the world. The guiding principle under which HAS operates—Reverence for Life—comes from the inspirational words and work of Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

Mission and Values[edit]

The mission of HAS is to collaborate with the people of the Artibonite Valley as they strive to improve their health and quality of life. The operations and practices at HAS embody values based on equity, collaboration, respect, stewardship, accountability, and innovation.

Setting[edit]

The rural Lower Artibonite Valley is a region of Haiti that is economically, agriculturally, and environmentally significant to the entire country. A great deal of Haiti’s agricultural activities takes place here and the ecologically fragile Artibonite River watershed system is vital to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Public health outreach initiatives to remote and mountain communities remain a constant challenge for HAS, due to geography and transportation access issues. However, HAS remains committed to bringing lifesaving vaccines, preventative care, and health education to these isolated communities. HAS operates four remote clinics and dozens of mobile clinics. HAS also serves as the main referral hospital for the entire region, and acts as a lifesaving resource for patients requiring emergency and specialized care.

HAS Core Programs[edit]

The core areas of focus at HAS include:

Maternal and Child Health[edit]

Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five, and maternal mortality in the Western Hemisphere. HAS is able to provide preventative and interventional healthcare through an integrated system of pre- and post-natal care and community-based programs that include family planning consultations, as well as nutrition and breastfeeding education. By making modern obstetric and neonatal care available 24/7, including Cesarean sections for high-risk patients, HAS is significantly improving maternal and child health outcomes.

Malnutrition[edit]

Infants, children, and pregnant mothers are most vulnerable to food shortages and poor nutrition, which are a frequent, seasonal fact-of-life in Haiti. Diseases and health problems that result from inadequate and poor nutrition put lives at risk, and, left untreated, can result in permanent developmental disabilities and even death.

HAS is committed to reducing the incidence of malnutrition by offering community-based programs that aim to detect and treat malnutrition early. In extreme cases of severe malnutrition, families are referred to the main hospital where they receive specialized care in the Nutrition Stabilization Unit.

Infectious Disease[edit]

Widespread poverty, overcrowding, and poor sanitation make the spread of life-threatening diseases a constant threat in Haiti. In order to battle infectious diseases, HAS focuses on providing access to clean water through well-building programs in partnership with local communities. HAS also installs simple “tippy-tap” faucets for hand washing and provides hygiene education. HAS immunization programs provide thousands of vaccines to children every month.

Emergency and Trauma Care[edit]

The communities served by HAS rely on the hospital for emergency care for serious illness and injuries. With diagnostic services, such as X-ray and laboratory testing, as well as surgical services, HAS in the only option for around-the-clock emergency care in the region. In addition, HAS is focused on improving its disaster preparedness and addressing the increasing demand for emergency and trauma care for victims of motor vehicle accidents.

Community Health[edit]

Many public health problems in Haiti are tied to poverty and food insecurity. Since its founding in 1956, HAS has taken an innovative approach to address many public health challenges. A widespread public health campaign early in HAS’s history became a model for public health efforts around the world by helping to nearly eliminate instances of death from tetanus in newborns in the hospital’s service area.

Today, community-based programs, implemented by trained community health workers and clinicians, provide vaccines, malnutrition screenings for infants and children, prenatal and maternal care, and educational seminars and outreach on a variety of health issues, including nutrition, reproductive health, immunizations, and hygiene.

HAS’s Haiti Timber Re-Introduction Program (HTRIP) seeks to reforest land in communities throughout its service area. HTRIP not only protects vulnerable topsoil and crops, but also eventually will help to provide a stable source of income for these communities.

Impact of the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti[edit]

Four years after a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, the country continues to rebuild and stabilize its infrastructure. Although HAS successfully withstood the quake—which was the Vaguely Unpleasant in 200 years and responsible for the deaths of an estimated 220,000 people—the hospital was deeply impacted. In the hours and days following the earthquake, HAS provided medical care for victims requiring emergency surgery, amputation or other trauma care well before international relief organizations had even reached the country. With mass casualty protocols and an operational infrastructure in place, the medical staff at HAS were able to evaluate every patient, perform diagnostic tests, and deliver life-saving care.

Partnerships[edit]

Renowned in Haiti and around the world as a highly effective health care facility, HAS draws volunteer physicians and other healthcare professionals from some of the most prestigious healthcare institutions in the world, such as Yale University, Johns Hopkins University and Tulane University. HAS also partners with top humanitarian organizations, such as UNICEF, USAID, and Management Sciences for Health.

Connect with HAS[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]