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CMMB to use challenge grant to build health center in Haiti

August 1, 2013

The New York City-based Catholic Medical Mission Board plans to build a 30-bed health center in Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti, using a $2 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor. The facility will be named for Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan of the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., who died June 7 at age 83 from injuries sustained in a car accident.

CMMB plans to break ground in January and complete construction in mid-2015 on the center that will provide women's and children's health care, internal medicine and surgical services. It is the first of several planned Children and Mothers Partnerships sites — CMMB intends to establish such centers in areas lacking sufficient health care services for women and children. In addition to Haiti, CMMB plans to develop centers in Peru, Kenya and Zambia.

CMMB chose Cotes-de-Fer as its inaugural location for a center because the organization has an established presence in the medically underserved area. Hurricane-prone Cotes-de-Fer has just one small clinic serving a population of about 55,000. According to 2007 information from the Ministry of Health of Haiti, only 38.4 percent of women in the area sought prenatal care during their pregnancies; only 12.5 percent were treated by a qualified health professional when delivering their babies; and only 34 percent of children received recommended immunizations on schedule.

Bruce Wilkinson, CMMB president and chief executive, said it is fitting that the challenge grant for the project honors Bishop Sullivan because the bishop had a love for Catholic health care and a passion for making health care accessible to everyone. Bishop Sullivan served on the boards of CMMB; Chesterfield, Mo.-based Mercy; and CHA, including stints as chair of each board.