On Monday, February 25, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White, CDC Director Tom Frieden, Haitian Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Florence D. Guillaume, representatives from donor partners as well as other U.S. and Haitian officials attended the inauguration of two new public health buildings in Port-au-Prince. These buildings were supported through a partnership between CDC, CDC Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Proteus On-Demand and the medical technology company BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company).
The ribbon cutting ceremonies for two new public health buildings in Haiti’s capital city mark another milestone in the country’s recovery and rebuilding since the 2010 earthquake. The buildings will be used by Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP or Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population), MSPP’s Division of Epidemiology, Laboratory and Research (Direction d’Epidémiologie, de Laboratoire et de Recherches or DELR) and the Haiti office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they work to strengthen the country’s public health systems.
“‘Building back better’ isn’t just a slogan, it’s a reality in public health. These buildings represent an important step forward to save lives in Haiti. We are grateful to the CDC Foundation and their generous partners for their support and collaboration.” said Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director. “These new buildings have an importance far beyond their physical presence—they will serve as a basis and catalyst for programs that will save literally tens of thousands of lives.”
The two new buildings help in the transition of Haiti’s MSPP from temporary to permanent facilities following the earthquake. One building serves as a central office from which public health activities will be managed in Haiti by Dr. Florence Guillaume, Minister of Public Health and Population, and her staff. The second building for MSPP’s DELR houses a portion of MSPP’s surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory staff and CDC’s staff in Haiti, who are now working side-by-side in the country.
CDC Foundation partners financed the buildings through donations and in-kind support. The building for Haitian DELR and CDC staff was funded by a $2 million contribution from the GE Foundation and a $500,000 contribution from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Kaiser Permanente donated $587,000 for the MSPP central office. Partner funding for both buildings also provided furnishings, fixtures, electronics, computers, printers, and internet connectivity. In-kind contributions were provided by Proteus On-Demand to increase the size of the MSPP building and make enhancements within the facility. Also recognized at the ceremony was medical technology company BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), which last year donated more than 1.7 million syringes and 15,000 BD™ sharps collectors for a national measles and rubella immunization campaign in Haiti.
“We are grateful that our partners recognized the need for a comprehensive response to the earthquake in Haiti and for their generous contributions to build these new facilities,” said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “the CDC Foundation is positioned to help CDC and its public health partners secure crucial resources.”
MSPP’s Dr. Guillaume said, “These investments are another positive action helping to move Haiti’s public health system from the disaster and recovery phase into a longer-term solution.
Haiti’s MSPP demonstrated foresight in working to address emergency response needs while initiating long-term strategic plans that are improving health in Haiti. The U.S. Government reiterates its continued support and commitment to help strengthen Haiti’s public health infrastructure and national health programs for the Haitians.