We headed out early heading northeast, climbing up and over a range of mountains. Outside Port-au-Prince we saw some mass produced new houses, not yet occupied, very small and sitting on a desolate piece of land with no trees. The country towns in the mountains were poor but somehow seemed better than the poverty in the city. We saw a number of domestic animals, donkeys, goals, cows, mules, horses and bananas, corn, and sugar cane production.
By 10 am we arrived in Mirebalais at the brand new University Hospital. It is almost completed and is very impressive. We had a full tour. originally it was to be a community hospital of 80 beds but because of the earthquake and the destruction of medical facilities it was decided to expand the plans to make a 300 bed university teaching hospital. The tertiary service area includes three million people. The hospital is a joint effort of Partners in Health and the Haitian Ministry of Health. We met with the training director, who works half time at Brightam and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the head nurse. The hospital is expected to open for patients this spring. We saw the outpatient and pediatric wards and other parts of the modern facility, with beautiful landscaping and wall murals. The chief energy source is 1,800 solar panels on the roof. They will have the first digital x-ray machine in Haiti, with x-rays read by the radiology department at Dartmouth Medical School. The nursing director of CONASPEH hit it off with the head nurse and advocated for clinical rotations there for their nursing students. CONASPEH is the first private institution to approach them. We therefore considered the visit to be very successful and were pleased to make this important contact for them.
We stopped at the place where many metal workers/artisans sell the wares and purchased some. Then we spent an hour stuck in a horrendous traffic jam before arriving back at Wall’s Guest House for dinner.