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Five Years After Earthquake, A New Haitian Hospital is Set to Open


Catholic Health Organizations in the U.S. Contributed $10 Million to Construction

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Five years after an earthquake destroyed St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the hospital is set to re-open in a new, modern facility, thanks to generous support of Catholic health care organizations in the United States.  The new St. Francis de Sales is one of the first public buildings to be completed in the Haitian capital where reconstruction has been slow.

The 200-bed hospital, which will be dedicated Jan. 15, is owned and governed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. Throughout its 100-plus-year history, St. Francis de Sales Hospital has been the principal health care provider for the poorest and most vulnerable people of the Haitian capital.

On Jan. 12, 2010, a massive, magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti devastating much of the country’s capital, killing more than 230,000 people and leaving approximately two million people homeless. The earthquake leveled 80 percent of the buildings at St. Francis de Sales, including the pediatric and general inpatient wards. An estimated 70 patients, visitors and staff were killed when the hospital buildings collapsed.

Following its initial emergency response, Catholic Relief Services joined with the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince to plan for the rebuilding of St. Francis de Sales. The Catholic Health Association of the United States organized a fundraising effort, the Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal, to support the reconstruction, and association member organizations contributed more than $10.1 million to CRS for the project.

Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association, said, “CHA is so grateful to our members for their generous contributions, which I am confident will pay dividends for the Haitian people for many years to come.  The need in Haiti is astounding, and this new hospital is a vitally important part of rebuilding the community of Port-au-Prince and ensuring that its people can receive the medical care and attention they need.”

Catholic Relief Services funded and supervised the construction of the new 125,000-square-foot hospital which will serve as a teaching facility for medical professionals.  “The rebuilt St. Francis de Sales Hospital is more than a first-rate medical facility,” said Carolyn Woo, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Relief Services. “It will also help train the doctors and nurses of Haiti’s future to provide the quality health care the country deserves. 

“Having worked in the country alongside the Haitian church since the 1950s, CRS knows the importance of facilities like St. Francis de Sales that provide services to the most impoverished people in Port-au-Prince. CRS is proud to have played a role and remains committed to helping the country build a quality health care system,” Woo said.

In addition to supporting the hospital reconstruction, CHA’s Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal raised funds to support development of a network of faith-based hospitals across Haiti. 

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The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), founded in 1915, supports the Catholic health ministry's commitment to improve the health status of communities and create quality and compassionate health care that works for everyone. The Catholic health ministry is the nation's largest group of not-for-profit health systems and facilities that, along with their sponsoring organizations, employ more than 750,000 women and men who deliver services combining advanced technology with the Catholic caring tradition.

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