Ministry champions campaign to rebuild Catholic health care in Haiti

April 15, 2011

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12, 2010, many Catholic health care organizations in the U.S. responded with emergency supplies and hands-on medical care. They responded generously with money as well, much of it donated to Catholic Relief Services. That international relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in the U.S. long has had a large permanent staff in Haiti, and they were among the first responders to the disaster.

Now Catholic health care organizations in the U.S. are joining with CRS again, this time to rebuild and strengthen Catholic hospitals in Haiti in order to provide the Haitian people with modern, quality care.

"There is a great sense of joy to see something rising that will do so much good for people," said Bishop Gerald Kicanas, chair of the CRS board and bishop of Tucson, Ariz.

Added Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, CHA president and chief executive officer, "This collaboration of CRS, Catholic hospitals in Haiti and the Catholic health care organizations here at home is a striking example of church ministries working together to care for our brothers and sisters in need. It's a faithful expression of our church, living out the healing mission of Jesus."

Working through CHA, Catholic health systems are making generous pledges to CRS to support the rebuilding of Hospital St. Francis de Sales for the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. The hospital, established in 1881, was long the primary health care provider for the poor of the Haitian capital. The hospital compound, located in the heart of the downtown area, was almost totally demolished in the quake.

Along with supporting the construction of a replacement hospital, funds donated by the U.S. Catholic health systems also will be used to develop a network among Catholic hospitals in Haiti, delivering efficiencies and savings through shared services like supply chain management.

"Our fund-raising goal is $9.55 million, and already, our Catholic health systems have responded so generously that we are within reach of that goal," said Robert V. Stanek, retired president and chief executive of Catholic Health East of Newtown Square, Pa. Stanek is leading the "Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal" fund drive. "Several systems have committed to leadership gifts of $1 million and more, and the drive has pledges totaling $9.35 million," he said.

After the earthquake, CRS worked with the leaders of St. Francis de Sales to move services to a temporary location. The rubble of the demolished hospital has been removed and the site prepared for the construction of a 200-bed, 126,702-square-foot facility that will serve as a teaching hospital, a center of excellence for infectious disease care, and the primary referral hospital for the faith-based health care network in Haiti. Construction of the new facility is expected to start later this year and take two years to complete.

"CRS has been a partner with Hospital St. Francis de Sales for many years in HIV and AIDS programs," said Ken Hackett, president of CRS. "Now our partnership is creating a modern facility for the hospital, one that will be a much-needed resource for the people of Haiti."

MSAADA Architects of Minneapolis designed a complex of two-story buildings housing inpatient wards and private patient rooms, operating rooms, intensive care and maternity units, an emergency room and outpatient facilities. The complex will include a chapel, administrative offices, laundry and a residence for religious sisters who will work at the hospital.

CHA's Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal also will support CRS efforts to build and strengthen a network of seven faith-based hospitals in Haiti. The first action for this network — a priority identified by the hospitals — will be the creation of a joint supply chain system. This will allow the hospitals to achieve economies of scale in medicine and supply procurement and distribution, as well as improved efficiency in the management of in-kind donations.

Stanek said that in the weeks ahead members of a campaign steering committee will be contacting additional Catholic health care organizations about donating. For more information on the Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal, contact Robert V. Stanek.

Campaign contributors

Contributors to the Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal include:

Ascension Health, St. Louis, $1.5 million
Catholic Health East, Newtown Square, Pa., $1 million
Catholic Health Initiatives, Englewood, Colo., $1 million
CHRISTUS Health, Irving, Texas, $1 million
St. Joseph Health System, Orange, Calif., $1 million
Trinity Health, Novi, Mich., $1 million
Bon Secours Health System, Marriottsville, Md., $500,000
Catholic Health Partners, Cincinnati, $500,000
Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, $500,000
Sisters of Mercy Health System, Chesterfield, Mo., $500,000
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, Lenexa, Kan., $400,000
PeaceHealth, Bellevue, Wash., $200,000
BayCare Health System, Clearwater, Fla., $100,000
CHA, St. Louis, $100,000
Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., $50,000
Total: $9.35 million


> Also see "CHA to convene ministry in Atlanta summit on international aid"


Copyright © 2011 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2011 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.