Friday, January 22, 2010

Phuoc in Haiti - courtesy of Erin Jones-Le

Phuoc arrived in Santo Domingo, DR on Tuesday evening. He and another person from Partners in Health (PIH) were greeted by Clinton Foundation representatives. They picked up two new trucks for PIH, filled them with supplies, and drove across the border (see photo at left) on Wednesday.

They were to stop at PIH sites in Belladere and Cange on their way to Port au Prince. Phuoc spent Wednesday night at a UN tent camp, one mile from the PAP airport.

He met a medical group that came from California on Mel Gibson's private jet. He also met up with our dear friend, Natasha, who is in the same year of the Global Health Equity Residency (collaboration between the Brigham Hospital and PIH). Natasha arrived on Wednesday with a group of medical professionals, via a chartered flight from Boston to PAP. She is Haitian-American, and I am sure that she is providing much-needed cultural/language translation and coordination on the ground.

This morning Phuoc felt a small aftershock around 8 am before leaving for the general hospital (HUEH) in PAP. I can't imagine the mental anguish each aftershock brings to the survivors as they relive the emotions of the January 12 earthquake. Please keep them in your prayers, and pray for Phuoc and Natasha's strength as they will certainly witness deep levels of pain and struggle.

For those of you who would like to help with the relief efforts in Haiti, I'd like to tell you a bit about PIH and their work in Haiti: PIH has been in Haiti for over 20 years, and has built up numerous health centers (clinics and hospitals) throughout Haiti. PIH operates with a rights-based approach, and aims for sustainability (just before the earthquake, their facilities were mostly run by Haitian medical professionals). Several days ago, the World Health Organization asked PIH to revive and operate the general hospital where Phuoc is working. PIH's overhead cost is less than six percent (6%), and their head honchos don't make the six-figure salaries enjoyed by heads of other charitable organizations. (I encourage people to check out sites like to learn where your money goes in various organizations.)

PIH's approach has been supported publicly by numerous celebrities (i.e. Madonna, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Mel Gibson, etc.), and a chunk of the proceeds from tonight's TV concert will go to PIH.

For more information on PIH, go to Or, if you have more time, I recommend reading Tracy Kidder's "Mountains Beyond Mountains," which covers the story of Paul Farmer, the foundation of PIH, and the organization's relationship with and work in Haiti.

We all thank you for your concern and your help.


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