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Partnership improves health care in Haiti

Robyn Doornweerd

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A coalition of organizations including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the GE Foundation announced a public/private partnership benefiting the Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation (SBHF) last week during a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The partnership provides financial, in-kind and technical support for the Reparation Pou Amelyore Ekipman Medikal (REPARE) program, enabling the Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation to create a regional model for biomedical equipment management in Haiti.

Under the REPARE project, a training program is in place for biomedical technicians at St. Boniface Hospital and the University Teaching Hospital of Mirebalais, which will be used as a replicable model for expanding training opportunities to additional facilities in Haiti. The program is aimed toward enhancing the availability and skills of local biomedical technicians in Haiti, increasing the ability to provide high quality care in Haiti’s hospitals.

“The REPARE program will revolutionize the standard of care in Haiti,” said CEO and president of SBHF, Conor Shapiro. “There are closets full of broken medical equipment throughout the country, and this project will ensure that this equipment can be repaired and maintained by local technicians and put back to work caring for patients. It will ensure the ability to diagnose illnesses and provide care.” Mr. Shapiro emphasized the importance of biomedical training. “This program will truly save lives,” he says. 

Partners agree: “REPARE convenes the expertise and financial support of important actors in Haiti’s healthcare system to ensure Haitians of all incomes receive the benefits of life-saving biomedical equipment,” said United States Ambassador to Haiti Peter Mulrean. “The main objective is to create an efficient maintenance and repair system in Haiti that is self-sustaining through fees for services provided by an expanded pool of certified Haitian technicians.”

“To achieve sustainable health delivery in Haiti, biomedical training and overall skills building are essential,” said David Barash, chief medical officer at the GE Foundation. “We are proud to partner with SBHF as a leader and gold standard for enabling access to healthcare and driving system strengthening in remote underserved regions.”

“St. Boniface’s revolutionary approach to repairing medical devices is setting a new standard of surgical care and redefining health care delivery and education in and around Fond-des-Blancs,” said Joe Scantlebury, vice president for program strategy at the Kellogg Foundation. “This program furthers St. Boniface’s vision to improve quality and access to affordable health care and improve infant and maternal care.” 

The proliferation of non-functioning and poorly maintained medical equipment has devastating consequences for patients seeking life-saving health services throughout Haiti. Much of the country’s health clinics and hospitals depend on donated or used machinery, and the cost of maintenance through reliance on foreign engineers is not sustainable. REPARE combats these issues, while also creating jobs and bolstering the local economy.

The Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation has been working in southern Haiti for nearly three decades, in response to the need for a comprehensive healthcare organization on the Southern Peninsula. Since its founding, the organization has expanded into a hospital in Fond-des-Blancs, a clinic in Villa, and multiple community health programs and mobile clinics. As a whole, SBHF provides care for nearly 100,000 patients per year, and serves on the frontlines of the country’s health and disaster relief needs.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. 

About the Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation
Founded in 1983, the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation (SBHF) provides essential health services to some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in southern Haiti. SBHF’s model of healthcare delivery includes clinical and community-based care that works collaboratively to bring healthcare access to a large and dispersed population.

SBHF’s main facility, St. Boniface Hospital, is located in Fond-des-Blancs and is the largest regional hospital on Haiti’s southern peninsula. It is accredited by the Haitian Ministry of Health and is one of the only providers of specialized services, including surgical care, to a broader region of over two million people, many of whom live on less than $1 per day. 

SBHF is a U.S.-based 501c3 organization that also has nonprofit status in Haiti. The office in Newton, Massachusetts supports approximately 275 staff in Haiti, 98% of whom are Haitian.

For more information visit haitihealth.org or call us at 617.244.9800.

About the GE Foundation
The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE (NYSE: GE), is committed to building a world that works better. We empower people by helping them build the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. We equip communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better health and education. We elevate ideas that are tackling the world’s toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives. The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of our employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities. We are at work making the world work better. Follow the GE Foundation at www.gefoundation.com and on Twitter at @GE_Foundation


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