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Partners in Help

There are few better ways to spend one’s money than to give it to Partners In Health. That has long been true; this week it’s truer.

While PIH is now a large organization operating in many countries around the world, it began in Haiti, and still has a large medical footprint on the ground there, making the organization well equipped to mobilize quickly and effectively to help people affected by the earthquake. Here is a note posted to their website:

Over the past 18 hours, Partners In Health staff in Boston and Haiti have been working to collect as much information as possible about the conditions on the ground, the relief efforts taking shape, and all relevant logistics issues in order to respond efficiently and effectively to the most urgent needs in the field. At the moment, PIH’s Chief Medical Officer is on her way to Haiti, where she will meet with Zanmi Lasante leadership and head physicians, who are already working to ensure PIH’s coordinated relief efforts leveraging the skills of more than 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants who work at Zanmi Lasante’s sites.

We have already begun to implement a two-part strategy to address the immediate need for emergency medical care in Port-au-Prince. First, we are organizing the logistics to get the medical staff and supplies needed for setting up field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince where we can triage patients, provide emergency care, and send those who need surgery or more complex treatment to our functioning hospitals and surgical facilities. To do this, we are creating a supply chain through the Dominican Republic. Second, we are ensuring that our facilities in the Central Plateau are ready to serve the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince. Operating and procedure rooms are staffed, supplied, and equipped for surgeries and we have converted a church in Cange into a large triage area. Already our sites in Cange and Hinche are reporting a steady flow of people coming with medical needs from the capital city. In the days that come we will need to make sure our pharmacies and supplies stay stocked and our staff continue to be able to respond.

Currently, our greatest need is financial support. Haiti is facing a crisis worse than it has seen in years, and it is a country that has faced years of crisis, both natural disaster and otherwise. The country is in need of millions of dollars right now to meet the needs of the communities hardest hit by the earthquake. Our facilities are strategically placed just two hours outside of Port-au-Prince and will inevitably absorb the flow of patients out of the city. In addition, we need cash on-hand to quickly procure emergency medical supplies, basic living necessities, as well as transportation and logistics support for the tens of thousands of people that will be seeking care at mobile field hospitals in the capital city.  Any and all support that will help us respond to the immediate needs and continue our mission of strengthening the public health system in Haiti is greatly appreciated. Help us stand up for Haiti now.

If you are not in a position to make a financial contribution, you can help us raise awareness of the earthquake tragedy. Please alert your friends to the situation and direct them to this webpage for updates and ways to help.

If Partners In Health isn’t your cup of tea for political or other reasons, lists of relief organizations abound, like this one at the New York Times website. Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross are always deserving of financial assistance too, and as far as I can tell they are well positioned to provide help to those in and around Port-au-Prince.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes feels overwhelmed by the amount of suffering in the world, and impotent in the face of it all (and of course, self-recriminations about all of the frivolous ways I spend my time and my money just make me feel worse). Ultimately, though, doing something is always better than doing nothing, so please—do something.