Ministry contributes to efforts to 'build back better'
By KIM VAN OOSTEN
Photos by CHRIS RYAN
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Construction is in full swing at the St. Francis de Sales Hospital complex, and that's a welcome sign of progress here in Haiti's capital city.
Catholic Relief Services is leading the building project, drawing on $10.1 million in funding donated by CHA members to replace the 100-year-old arch-diocesan hospital destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The ministry's funding is also supporting the development of a Catholic health care supply chain in Haiti.
Workers build a roof truss in the courtyard of St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Ministry donations support the construction of the nine-building complex.
At St. Francis de Sales, Haitian construction workers lay sewer and water lines, pour concrete subfloors and install electrical conduit pipes and wiring. They use power tools and hand-powered tools: hacksaws, buckets and shovels. Workers heat and bend rebar over open fires.
The hospital's nine-building complex, slated to open in 2015, includes a 200-bed inpatient building and a wing of private rooms, an outpatient clinic, a morgue and cadaver laboratory building, administrative space, a chapel and housing for staff who are members of a religious congregation.
In the streets of Port-au-Prince, there are some notable projects that are improving everyday life for Haitians; although it is also clear that much work remains more than four years after the quake. New roads can slice an hour or more from commutes of a few miles. The government is clearing some of the story-high trash piles from street corners in the crowded city.
Bruce Compton, CHA's senior director of international outreach, said these are significant accomplishments given the dire socioeconomic conditions and dearth of government services that existed before the quake.
"We can't overlook the injustices that continue to plague Haiti, but we can partner with Haitians to create sustainable solutions and to 'build back better' as we are doing at St. Francis de Sales Hospital," Compton said.
Copyright © 2014 by the Catholic Health Association
of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.