Build Health International

Project Introduction

Two-thirds of the mortality caused by cancer occurs in low- and middle-income countries like Haiti. Although Hôpital Universitaire Mirebalais did not originally plan to provide oncology services, nationwide demand was so high necessitated oncology as an addition. BHI was tasked with designing and constructing a new oncology unit within an underutilized ward. Today, the National Oncology Center of Excellence provides Haitians with affordable access to dignified quality care, educates future clinicians, and provides continuous monitoring of patient outcomes.

Build Health International

Project Information

  • Square Feet
  • Timeline
    April 2017 - March 2018
  • Operational Partners
    Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante
& Design
& Equip
& Maintain
Build Health International

Project Description

In 2012, there were 14 million new cases of cancer worldwide and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths, resulting in a higher death toll for cancer than for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. These high incidence and mortality rates show no signs of slowing. In fact, new cancer cases are expected to increase by 70% over the next two decades. Despite having less than 5% of global health care resources, more than two-thirds of the world’s cancer burden occurs in low- and middle-income countries like Haiti.

The primary challenges in providing cancer care in these countries include: a lack of skilled personnel; scarcity of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment; expensive medications; and the need for complex, multi-disciplinary infrastructure for oncology care. The Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais sees an incredible number of patients with cancer every day, but about 21% of them go untreated because of a lack of facilities capable of providing radiation therapy.

The National Oncology Center of Excellence will address this by providing affordable access to safe, effective and high-quality cancer care; educating the next generation of oncology clinicians (physicians, nurses, social workers, palliative care clinicians, laboratory technicians, etc), through continuous accompaniment and training; and providing continuous monitoring of patient outcomes through data collection and analysis.

Currently, HUM is the only site in the country that offers accurate and affordable oncologic diagnosis, staging and treatment. Over the course of the next five years, the oncology program also seeks to expand its team and partners in an effort to scale up the capacity, availability and quality of cancer care to benefit an ever-increasing number of patients.