Hôpital Albert Schweitzer

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Hôpital Albert Schweitzer
Location Gabon
Founded 1913
Hôpital Albert Schweitzer
Location Haiti
Founded 1956
Website Official website
Lists Hospitals in Haiti

The Hôpital Albert Schweitzer was established in 1913 by Albert Schweitzer and Helene Bresslau Schweitzer in Lambaréné, Gabon.

The hospital in Lambaréné, as well as the life and philosophy of Albert Schweitzer, inspired Larry Mellon of the Mellon family fortune to found a Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti, in 1956.


Albert Schweitzer opened a hospital in 1913 in Lambaréné in what what was then French Equatorial Africa and became Gabon, and Schweitzer ran it until he died in 1965.[1][2] He won the Nobel Prize in 1952 for his work there.[2] For most of its history the hospital was run, staffed, and funded by Europeans.[1][2] Schweitzer worked with "fellowships" in many countries to fund his work (including the US Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, which was founded in 1940)[3] and the fellowships were coordinated by the Association Internationale de l'oeuvre du docteur Albert Schweitzer de Lambaréné (AISL), which also oversaw the hospital.[4] In 1974 the Fondation internationale de l'Hôpital du docteur Albert Schweizer à Lambaréné (FISL) was established and took over the work of overseeing the hospital.[5][6]

Since its founding the hospital was rebuilt twice, the second in 1981.[7] At the time of the 1981 construction, a research facility was included at the request of the Gabon government, which eventually became a separate non-profit organization called “Centre de Recherches Médicale de Lambaréné” ("CERMEL"), but was still governed by the board of the foundation governing the hospital.[7]

Schweitzer himself had a racist and colonialist view of Africans,[1][2] and the staff and management of the hospital remained in European hands until around 2011, when for the first time an African, Antoine Nziengui, was appointed to lead the hospital.[2]

In 1947, Larry Mellon, inspired by Schweitzer and his work in Africa, went to medical school at Tulane University with the intention of following in Schweitzer's footsteps.[8] He went to Haiti in 1952 on a research trip as part of his medical studies, and during that visit decided to locate the clinic in the Artibonite Valley;[8] he was granted land that was formerly a banana plantation by then president of Haiti, Paul Magliore.[9] He and his wife Gwen opened an Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti in 1956.[8][9] Mellon When it opened, the facility had two operating rooms, a laboratory, X-ray facilities and a pharmacy, and had its own water system, electric power, machine and vehicle shops, laundry and food services.[9]

Services (Gabon)[edit]

The hospital is the primary source of healthcare for the surrounding region since it was founded in 1913. Schweitzer and his wife are buried nearby, and one of the old buildings is a museum and UNESCO world heritage site.[10]

Periodic upgrades have resulted in a modern medical facility.[11] The current facility includes two operating rooms, a dental clinic, and inpatient wards for pediatric, adult medicine, surgical, and obstetrical patients.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has recognized the hospital's research laboratory as one of five leading facilities in Africa engaged in scientific studies of malaria. Children with severe malaria at the Schweitzer Hospital have the lowest documented mortality rate anywhere on the continent.

Diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are also a major focus.

As of 2017, it had 150 beds, an emergency room, a pharmacy, a laboratory and an x-ray unit, about 160 staff, 2 surgeons, 2 interns and 2 pediatricians, and around 50,000 people used it each year.[6]

Services (Haiti)[edit]

By 1970 the facility had grown from 80 to 120 beds and provided annually about 60,000 outpatient visits, 3500 admissions and 2500 operations.[12][13]

By 2010 the facility in Haiti had expanded to include twelve health clinics that were staffed by Haitian volunteers; they offered and preventive and community education and focused on women's health and HIV treatment and prevention.[9] At the time the hospital performed about 2,000 surgical procedures each year and served about 60,000 people as outpatients, and about 100,000 people were treated each year at the satellite clinics.[9]

In 2015 it spent about $6 million on hospital operations and about $400,000 on the clinics.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Albert Schweitzer, 90, Dies at His Hospital". Reuters via the New York Times. September 6, 1965. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Baron, David (May 17, 2012). "Historic Albert Schweitzer Hospital adapts to new Africa". Public Radio International. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "About". AISL. Archived from the original on June 16, 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Histoire de la Fondation". Fondation internationale de l'Hôpital du docteur Albert Schweizer à Lambaréné. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Schweitzer's Hospital in Lambarene". Dr. Schweitzer's Hospital Fund (UK) -. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "History". Centre de Recherches Médicale de Lambaréné (CERMEL). Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c Nicholas, SW (2003). "Haiti's Hospital Albert Schweitzer: The Legacy of Larimer and Gwen Mellon". Am J Public Health. 93: 527–29. doi:10.2105/ajph.93.4.527. PMC 1447782Freely accessible. PMID 12660189. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Zwolak, Judith (June 12, 2010). "Hospital of Hope". LookTulane. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Ancien Hôpital Albert Schweitzer de Lambaréné - UNESCO World Heritage Centre" (in French). UNESCO Centre du patrimoine mondial. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Albert Schweitzer's Hospital In Gabon to Be Modernized" New York Times 15 February 1966
  12. ^ Lepreau, FJ (September 1973). "Surgery in Haiti.". Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960). 107 (3): 483–6. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350210111030. PMID 4783045. 
  13. ^ Baue, AE (September 1985). "Surgery in Haiti revisited. An opportunity for a general surgeon.". Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960). 120 (9): 997–1000. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390330009001. PMID 4026567. 
  14. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating – Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti". charitynavigator.org. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 

External links[edit]