Build Health

Project Introduction

Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) was the first project undertaken by BHI's co-founders, and it laid the foundation for the organization that would become Build Health International. As the largest and most advanced public sector hospital in Haiti, HUM has elevated the standard of care and redefined the possible in rural, resource-limited settings. Construction of HUM was completed within within 27 months - a fraction of the time that projects of a similar scale typically take in Haiti. Despite challenges from the cholera epidemic, flooding, and election-related civil unrest, HUM opened in March 2013 to provide care to over 185,000 residents in Haiti’s Central Plateau and even more who come from across the country seeking care.

Build Health

Project Information

  • Square Feet
  • Timeline
    July 2010 - October 2012
  • Operational Partners
    Partners in Health / Zanmi Lasante
& Design
& Equip
& Maintain
Build Health

About This Project

As the largest and most advanced public-sector hospital in Haiti, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) was designed to elevate the standard of care, as well as redefine what is possible in resource-limited, rural settings.

A huge team of partners and experts came together to make this groundbreaking design possible, including the leadership of Design Principle Ann Clark and Project Architect Jacob Wahler. The design team worked closely with clinicians familiar with the local context to determine which design features and biotechnology promote high-quality care (in this particular setting). For example, hospital wards are open, enabling a good line of site from physicians to patients. HUM also incorporates technology novel in the Haitian context, including a CT scanner, a centralized medical gas system, and video-conferencing capacities to partners in the US.

HUM’s construction was completed within 27 months, a fraction of the timeline for many projects of similar scale in Haiti. By identifying and mitigating pinch points and pushing the schedule at every opportunity in anticipation of inevitable delays, the project was finished quickly, despite challenges from the cholera epidemic and flooding.

The process of equipping HUM also helped BHI develop our current approach towards procurement and shipping. For HUM, we worked with corporate and healthcare partners to obtain donated and refurbished equipment, strategically selecting equipment that would most benefit patient care and would also be maintainable by local staff at HUM.

The process of designing, constructing, and equipping HUM made it clear to our team that specific expertise in infrastructure development is necessary to effectively expand healthcare access. BHI was founded to apply what we learned in the process of building HUM to future projects, refine our techniques, and to support HUM’s long-term operations. Since HUM’s opening, BHI continued to support the hospital, providing training and emergency support to the Haitian team, as well as designing and building approximately 10 additional departments and facilities, including the reference laboratory, medical resident dorms, oncology center and a new emergency department.