A new teaching hospital built in Haiti with support from the American Red Cross opens its labor and delivery room and its dental clinic this week as it continues to expand its health care services.
The Mirebalais University Hospital, which is located about an hour and a half outside of Port-Au-Prince, opened its doors in March, and the Partners in Health hospital is already treating close to 500 patients a day, with an emphasis on child and maternal health services. All services at Mirebalias are free after an initial registration fee which cost about $1.15.
The American Red Cross first partnered with Partners in Health in 2011, providing $5.5 million for the construction of the hospital.
The building features four wards surrounding a serene courtyard, and houses six operating rooms with advanced technology. Built-in cameras transmit live video feed of surgeries to other hospitals for learning and consultation. One surgery was recently observed from another Partners in Health facility in Rwanda.
“This is wonderful,” said Dr. Rose Dina Premier. “At Mirebalais there is no reason to say no because we have the equipment. We look forward to both learning and teaching in our new facility.”
Dr. Premier and her staff are very excited to open the dental clinic. Premier, who was born and raised in Haiti and has been practicing dentistry for six years, is excited to offer a new level of dental care that includes advanced equipment and a visiting specialist program. Whereas this level of dental care was once a luxury in Haiti and often non-existent in rural communities, Partners in Health hopes this hospital will change that.
Along with advanced technology, 1800 solar panels make Mirebalias the largest completely solar run hospital in the world. In addition, they were resourceful in their planning. When a staff member in Boston passed by St. Cecilia’s church and saw church pews that were being removed, he stopped and asked for them. They now provided patient seating throughout the hospital.
Not only is the hospital changing lives for students who are learning new skills and for community members who have easy access to top quality medical care, but it has also stimulated local business. A volunteer mosaic artist who came from the United States to install her artwork trained local staff to assist her. They have gone on to form their own company and are doing mosaic work throughout Haiti.
Everywhere one looks at Mirebalais, innovation, creativity and compassion abound. As more wards continue to open, the facility will continue to change lives in the community. And for the patients on Monday who will have access to dental care or who will have their baby in the new labor and delivery ward, the change starts now.