Strengthening Haiti's health care system

An agreement between the governments of Haiti, Brazil and Cuba is helping to strengthen the health care system in Haiti, while developing national capacity and promoting job creation.

Signed in 2010, the agreement has been supporting Haiti's sustainable development following the devastating earthquake. UNOPS has supported a range of activities under the agreement, on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with funding from the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

Key activities have included managing the construction and equipping of three community hospitals, one rehabilitation centre and one orthesis and prosthesis laboratory in the south and southwest of Haiti. Under the project, Brazilian experts have provided infrastructure training to local workers. Cuba will also provide training and technical assistance for the functioning of the laboratory.

Scheduled to be fully operational in 2014, the community hospitals will provide four basic services: surgery, maternity, pediatric and internal medicine, in addition to other services such as radiology and intensive care. The rehabilitation centre – the first owned by the Haitian Government – will provide physiotherapy, as well as visual, hearing and speech rehabilitation.

Sustainable design, new construction methods

The buildings are earthquake and cyclone resistant and incorporate environmentally-friendly infrastructure such as external solar lamps and rainwater harvesting systems.

In addition, the project helped introduce new construction methods in Haiti, such as the installation of prefabricated panels.


Local capacity building and engagement

The project created approximately 40,000 days of paid work for local workers from surrounding communities. Trained by a team of Brazilian professionals, the workers learned how to install plumbing, electricity and prefabricated units. In seven months, a total of 8,000 pieces of medical and non-medical equipment were delivered and installed.

UNOPS also coordinated training for both medical and maintenance staff on the new medical equipment, as well as an awareness campaign for the local population, which helped strengthen local capacity and promote community acceptance of the project.

Fostering effective partnerships

By promoting collaboration between the governments of Haiti, Brazil and Cuba, the project is a leading example of South-South cooperation. In addition, the project highlights effective collaboration and the embodiment of the 'delivering as one' initiative between United Nations entities, in this case UNOPS, UNDP and the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Under the agreement, UNOPS has supported other activities including: the rehabilitation of two medical laboratories in the north and south of Haiti; the procurement of 30 ambulances and four cargo trucks; logistical support for the installation of 152 fridges; the procurement of 350 cylinders of propane gas; and coordination for the re-filling of around 25,000 gas cylinders to improve the storage of vaccines.

 UNOPS in focus