The magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Haiti’s southern peninsula on August 14, 2021 was the year’s deadliest natural disaster globally, killing over 2,200 people. It also caused over 12,700 injuries (80% of them orthopedic), left over 675,000 people in need of humanitarian aid, and damaged or destroyed more than 55% of healthcare facilities across southern Haiti.
As the largest healthcare provider in the region and one of the few facilities undamaged in the disaster, HEI/SBH immediately began leading the emergency response. Our team administered life-saving care to survivors, hosted a team of specialized orthopedic and trauma surgeons, and delivered critical medications and supplies to hospitals and clinics throughout the impacted area.
Approximately a month after the earthquake, as the acute emergency phase drew to a close, the focus of our disaster response shifted toward restoring access to primary care and helping to rebuild the region’s shattered health system. By the end of 2021, HEI/SBH was running five mobile clinic teams and supporting four earthquake-affected health facilities with staff and supplies. From August 2021 through June 2022, these teams:
- Visited 89 communities in 14 communes of Sud and Nippes departments
- Saw 106,747 patient visits, including 34,669 by children and 3,337 by pregnant women
Immediately following the earthquake, orthopedic patients arrived at our emergency room and were referred to surgery, rehabilitation, and other services as needed. In November, we launched a permanent Haitian-run orthopedics program to provide a continuum of care for orthopedic patients in the long term. By the end of May, our orthopedic surgeons had performed 296 surgical procedures and conducted 1,100 orthopedic outpatient visits.
During this period, SBH also took on more of the burden of care for southern Haiti. From August through May, we saw 136,255 patient visits, 12% more than during the same time period the previous year. We also saw a 17% increase in emergency room visits.
HEI/SBH could not have provided life-saving care to so many people without the support of thousands of individual donors, in addition to partnerships with the following organizations:
- Ascension Global Mission
- Build Health International
- Clara Lionel Foundation
- Deerfield Foundation
- Direct Relief International
- Flora Family Foundation
- GE Foundation
- Haiti Air Ambulance
- Haitian Ministry of Health (MSPP)
- IZUMI Foundation
- Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante
- USAID/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) (with Project Hope)
- Vitol Foundation
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Today, our relief efforts continue as we work to strengthen southern Haiti’s overall health system and make it more resistant to shocks. To support this critical ongoing work, please consider making a donation today. Donate here.