Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Michele J. Sison Speech at the Inauguration of the Infectious Disease Facility at St. Boniface

Madame Minister of Public Health,

Representatives of the St. Boniface Foundation

Invited Guests,

I am pleased to be here, on behalf of the U.S. government, to celebrate the inauguration of this unparalleled facility for infectious disease treatment and emergency care. This space will not only prevent the spread of diseases like cholera and tuberculosis, but provide a high quality of care in an emergency setting. Since the emergency room opened in March, almost 5,000 patients have already received life-saving treatment.

We are so glad to continue our longstanding partnership with the St. Boniface Hospital; USAID supported St. Boniface to build the first program in the country to provide comprehensive clinical and rehabilitative care to persons with a spinal cord injury.  We are also proud to support a training program for Haitian biomedical engineering technicians to fix and maintain life-saving biomedical equipment, a public-private partnership which is leveraging $2 million dollars from private sector partners.

For over 25 years, St. Boniface Hospital has served the medical needs of the least-served communities in remote areas of the country, and the U.S. government, through USAID and CDC, has been a proud partner as St. Boniface continues to expand the health services and set an example for health service delivery in Haiti.

What started as a 20-bed hospital in 1992 now has more than 115-beds, a biomedical repair program, a Spinal Cord Injury Center, a state-of-the-art laboratory, the Southern Peninsula’s most advanced Maternal and Neonatal Health Center, a surgical center with three operating suites, and now, a state-of-the-art Center for Infectious Disease and Emergency Care.  On a daily basis, the work of St. Boniface staff is exemplary.  In the aftermath of disasters, St. Boniface adapts to serve the medical needs of people in this community, from establishing the spinal center after the 2010 Earthquake to mobilizing emergency aid and cholera treatment and prevention in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  St. Boniface’s doctors, nurse, and staff always put treatment and care of patients first.

Today’s inauguration of the infectious disease and emergency care center highlights the partnership between the American people and the people of Haiti.  Through a grant from the USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA), we, Americans, proudly supported the construction of this infectious disease center.

The St. Boniface Foundation exemplifies this core ideal by building partnerships every day.  St. Boniface staff – Americans and Haitians – work together in the operating rooms, in the maternity ward, in the emergency room, and in this community to deliver health services that save lives.  This institution has become a national training center for emergency medicine. This Center for Infectious Disease and Emergency Care will enable the amazing doctors, nurses and technicians here to respond to public health emergencies and tackle the problem of tuberculosis in the region.

I want to end by expressing my thanks to the St. Boniface Foundation — the doctors, nurses, support staff and the construction team — for their unyielding dedication to health care and treatment in Haiti.  Thank you for all that you do.