Infrastructure Projects

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Removing Physical and Technical Barriers to Health Care

In 2001, when the Konbit Sante team first visited Justinian Hospital, the largest public teaching hospital outside Port-au-Prince, they had one well yielding about 4,000 gallons of water per day - less than 3% of the water used by a comparably-sized U.S. hospital. There was no clean water for hand washing or drinking for clinical staff or for patients. The hospital's electrical system was not grounded, causing major losses of medical equipment because of power surges and lightning strikes. Additionally there was no communications infrastructure other than cell phones.

hotwireVolunteer electrician works with Haitian technician to repair electrical wiring.We quickly realized that efforts to improve clinical care would be severely limited by these realities so we sought resources to begin to solve certain infrastructure problems. Over the years Konbit Sante volunteer technicians (computer experts, master electricians and electrical engineers, and water engineers) have worked with Haitian colleagues to install and support a satellite-based internet system for the purpose of communication and medical research, ground the hospital's electrical system and replace the electrical "main," install back-up electrical supplies in the operating rooms and other services, replace non-functioning x-ray equipment, and increase the hospital's water supply more than six fold. In addition to relying on the work of U.S. volunteers, Konbit Sante employs a part-time Haitian technician to help implement and maintain these improvements.

Because the hospital campus still needs major infrastructure improvements, Konbit Sante continues to support these types of projects to improve of water availability, fix electrical systems, maintain medical equipment, and increase use of communications technology. The infrastructure team is also looking into how Konbit Sante can support water and sanitation solutions in the community, by partnering with organizations such as S.O.I.L.