Millwood, Virginia, August 23, 2012

Global NGO Project HOPE, in collaboration with local Haitian and United States-based health organizations, will launch a new program in Haiti to improve medical services for people living with disabilities caused by the 2010 earthquake and other tragedies. The U.S. Agency for International Development-funded program will provide a full range of medical services for disabled persons from in-home care and therapy to advanced surgical interventions. 

HOPE will partner with Société Haitienne d'Aide aux Aveugles (SHAA), Federation Haitienne des Associations et Institutions des Personnes Handicapées D’Haiti (FHAIPH) and Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) from Richland, Washington, to implement the three-year, $3 million USD program that will involve the renovation of six medical centers equipped to provide safe and effective surgical interventions, physical therapy, counseling and sufficient quantities of prosthetic and orthotic devices and mobility aids. Also, additional medical staff will be employed and existing staff will receive health education opportunities to achieve a superior level of patient care.  

“Project HOPE and our partners will help the disabled Haitians achieve greater independence and reintegrate back into community life through medical assistance such as corrective surgery, physical therapy, prosthetics and other psychosocial support,” said Lucien Armand, M.D., MPH, Program Director for Project HOPE in Haiti.   

“We can do this in many ways, namely referring patients to the full range of supportive services and ensuring that patients understand how to navigate the country’s system of assisted living as necessary. Equally important are the efforts we must make within the community to reduce stigma and discrimination against the disabled. We can show people in the community that the disabled have aspirations like everyone else – to have a job or to be able to play sports in spite of their disability,” said Dr. Armand. 

HOPE‘s long-term strategy is to build health care capacity in Haiti, by strengthening hospitals that will be capable of surgical interventions focused on upper and lower extremities and the trunk/spinal column, as well as increase the number of facilities that will focus on rehabilitation services.  Follow-on services such as psychosocial care and mobility aids, artificial limbs and other devices are also featured in the program.   

HOPE and its partners will coordinate assistance from other community-based organizations (CBOs) that will work with each center to locate the disabled and refer them to the appropriate facilities for medical assistance. The CBOs will provide ongoing support to patients, including in-home monitoring, vocational training and assistance in job placement.    

Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, created the first free, comprehensive rehab and prosthetic facility in post-earthquake Haiti in 2010.  The rehabilitation facility at Adventist Hospital in Diquini, near Port-au-Prince, is known as “Chanje Lavi,” which means “Changing Lives” in Creole.  Chanje Lavi has helped thousands of patients in the past year alone to adapt to life with a disability and overcome the hardship that can arise for disabled people in Haitian society.  

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health crises, with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in 35 countries across five continents.

About Federation Haitienne des Associations et Institutions des Personnes Handicapées D’Haiti (FHAIPH)
FHAIPH is a non-profit organization that works to integrate disabled persons into society. FHAIPH has focused on health and rehabilitation, sports therapy, advocacy and legal assistance, research and capacity building. FHAIPH is the capstone organization for 58 member organizations working nationwide, and is supported by a national network of volunteers in 142 communities throughout Haiti.

About Société Haitienne d'Aide aux Aveugles
SHAA is a Haitian NGO that provides education, basic health care and support services to people with disabilities, including orientation and mobility and daily living skills. They also provide vocational training and rehabilitation services nationwide. Since the earthquake, they have supported other INGO/NGOs distributing food and non-food items to persons with disabilities.

About Surgical Implant Generation Network
SIGN is a recognized leader in rehabilitation medicine. SIGN specializes in building local orthopedic surgical capacity and improving the quality of fracture care for the injured poor. The worldwide network of SIGN surgeons, trained in the SIGN technique and equipped with SIGN intramedullary (IM) nails, treat severely injured patients, especially in the wake of disasters.

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