A Life-Changing, Lifesaving Hospital
Christophe Millien has distinct memories of delivering babies from women laboring on the cement floor of a dilapidated hospital in Lascahobas, Haiti. When he began working there as Partners In Health’s (PIH) medical director in 2008, basic necessities like beds, electricity, and running water were in short supply. An ultrasound machine, NICU, or sterile operating theater were nowhere to be found.
When a patient required an emergency cesarean section, the OB/GYN had to refer her to another hospital. Millien recalls at least one patient who died of a hemorrhage en route to surgery—all because the hospital simply didn’t have funds to build the space or buy the supplies clinicians needed.
Over time, Millien advocated for his patients and saw conditions improve at Lascahobas. PIH collaborated with Haiti’s Ministry of Health to support staff, purchase equipment, improve the building’s crumbling infrastructure, and create a more organized system for providing care. Finally, Millien had an operating room where he could perform lifesaving surgeries. But it wasn’t until 2013 that Millien saw the most transformative change. That’s when PIH opened University Hospital in Mirebalais, a 30-minute ride south from Lascahobas. The 300- bed state-of-the-art teaching hospital now houses six operating theaters, a maternal health clinic, NICU, reference laboratory, and more—all of which patients access for free. Millien transferred to University Hospital in 2013 and assumed his new role as director of obstetrics and gynecology. It was a world away from where he began in Lascahobas. There, he and his colleagues had the stuff, space, and systems they needed a social justice organization working to make health care a human right