Headshot, Mark Brender, PIH Canada

Mark Brender,
National Director
PIH Canada

The end of June marks the close of our fiscal year, which I always find to be a humbling time. To all our supporters, we are eternally grateful for your belief in our patients and colleagues, in the families you have kept whole but will never meet, and in the communities your generosity has nursed back to health. Thank you so much for making it possible.

A few highlights of the fiscal year that was:

It was a milestone 12 months for PIH Canada’s work in Haiti on a number of fronts. Our Haitian colleagues conducted an evaluation of the first three years of the PIH Canada-funded project to prevent and treat gender-based violence. Prior to the inception of this project, there were a total of 46 registered sexual assaults across the entire PIH catchment area in Haiti, with no systematic follow-up or support for victims. In the three years since the project began, 1,345 victims of gender-based violence – nearly all of them women and girls – have accessed critical GBV services. Women who were once shunned in their own villages now have the support necessary to put their lives back together and seek justice. We have reached more than 120,000 people through community sensitization sessions, working with close to 70 women’s rights organizations. The recently completed evaluation showed paths for improvement by targeting geographic areas of high incidence, strengthening the involvement of community health workers (CHWs), and increasing programs focussing on girls’ empowerment and leadership. We’re looking forward to acting on these findings and others in the year to come.

Another highlight is the pending graduation of the first class of emergency medicine residents at University Hospital in Mirebalais – the first such residents in Haiti’s history. The five residents have already saved countless lives during their three years of training; as soon-to-be graduates with a deep commitment to social justice and social medicine, they will soon spread their knowledge with practitioners across the country.

At Hopital Saint Nicolas in St. Marc, Haiti, we continued to support operations and improvements of pediatric facilities and began a new project to fight under-five child malnutrition. Over the next three years, we will provide therapeutic food and inpatient and outpatient services to more than 4,100 moderately and severely malnourished children in the St. Marc region.

It was also a year of growth at home. We added to our staff and continued to build relationships with the Canadian government, advocating for a long-term approach to international aid that strengthens the capacity of local organizations and the public sector. These points were stressed during PIH Canada’s participation in a ministerial roundtable of Canadian health actors in Haiti hosted in April by Global Affairs Canada.

At the grassroots level, we welcomed University of British Columbia as the newest chapter of our Students for PIH Canada university club network, now stretching from BC to Quebec. Our fifth annual national student leaders’ conference takes place in August in Toronto. We’re also looking ahead with excitement to October, when PIH co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer will give the opening keynote address at the Canadian Society for International Health annual conference in Ottawa. Finally, we’ll continue ongoing collaboration and dialogue with Chiefs of Ontario in support of better health for Indigenous communities, borrowing and learning from PIH’s eight years of partnership and solidarity with Navajo Nation.

It’s a small snapshot of what you have made happen, and it feels like we’re just getting started…humbled, grateful and energized for challenges ahead. Thank you again and have a wonderful summer.

Mark Brender is the National Director of Partners In Health Canada

Posted on: Friday, July 7th, 2017

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