U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Visits PEPFAR Partner GHESKIO on World Health Day
Port-au-Prince, April 7, 2017 – In recognition of World Health Day 2017, American Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Brian Shukan and members of the U.S. Government health team visited the GHESKIO National Institute of Laboratory and Research (INLR) in Port-au-Prince. GHESKIO (Groupe Haïtien d’Étude du Sarcome de Kaposi et des Infections Opportunistes/Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections) has been a U.S. Government partner since 1983 and is one of the largest providers of TB/HIV diagnosis and treatment in the Americas. GHESKIO has received U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding since the beginning of the initiative in 2004, and is implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Chargé Shukan was greeted by GHESKIO Deputy Director Dr. Marie Marcelle Deschamps who briefed the Chargé on GHESKIO’s history, the vast set of health and support services the organization provides, and the state of healthcare in Haiti. Chargé Shukan had the opportunity to tour several of GHESKIO’s PEPFAR-funded clinics to observe the innovative work the organization is undertaking.
With PEPFAR funding, GHESKIO provides life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) free of charge to more than 25,000 patients annually. During the site visit, Chargé Shukan toured GHESKIO’s ART clinic and learned about new approaches to improve patient care – such as multi-month scripting of ART and a “rapid pathway” intervention aimed at reducing patient wait times. At GHESKIO’s pediatric unit, the largest pediatric AIDS clinic in Haiti, Chargé Shukan met with Dr. Vanessa Rouzier to discuss how PEPFAR is supporting HIV exposed infants to receive HIV treatment and care for TB.
PEPFAR also works with GHESKIO to provide integrated services to victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and to identify and refer victims of GBV through a network of community health workers. Chargé Shukan met with representatives of the program to learn about the prevalence of GBV in Haiti and how PEPFAR is supporting GHESKIO to care for victims of violence. Chargé Shukan toured GHESKIO’s vocational school – a training workshop for victims of GBV designed to promote resiliency and economic independence – and spoke with participants in the program.
GHESKIO remains one of PEPFAR-Haiti’s longest-standing and highest-performing partners. Chargé Shukan commended the GHESKIO staff on their tireless efforts to deliver quality services to the people of Haiti noting that “GHESKIO has shown its profound dedication by providing outstanding health services for over 35 years. It is impressive to see such a comprehensive program that responds to the service delivery needs of the community.”