The world celebrates Earth Day on April 22. But HAS celebrates the Earth every day of the year by putting environmental concerns at the forefront of delivering smart healthcare in a challenged setting. Haiti is 98% deforested, has no universal waste management or sanitation programs, and has some of the highest disease and mortality rates in the world. HAS offers an array of services, from emergency hospital care to a robust water and sanitation program, incorporating green practices wherever possible.
- Water and Sanitation: In addition to our extensive water and sanitation program which creates community-maintained safe water sources and promotes sanitation education, the HAS campus maintains its own water system to provide purified water to the hospital, 70 additional campus houses and buildings, and 7 community fountains near the hospital. We limit water use to reduce environmental impact. Though the hospital has running water 24/7, the water runs only 3 isolated hours per day to houses and community fountains to limit strain on the deep wells from which we draw.
- Waste Management: With 500 HAS employees living on and around campus, considerable household waste accumulates each week. HAS collects it every other day and separates waste from organic material, which we compost. We also teach and encourage community members to compost organic material to avoid open trash burning. We dispose of the hospital’s biomedical waste daily in an isolated location, greatly reducing the spread of infection. Digesters process waste in a contained location, killing 100 percent of bacteria and preventing the spread of disease.
- Reforestation: By design, the HAS campus has many trees; this helps the watershed, improves our soil, and encourages a rich ecosystem. For those who live on denuded hillsides, HAS operates an agroforestry program that helps community members grow seedlings, plant trees, and bolster the ecosystem as an investment in the soil and in the economic security of program participants. Fun fact: HAS recycles the small plastic bags in which water is commonly distributed in Haiti for growing seedlings.
HAS aims to do more.
We are working more closely with Global Links, a medical relief organization that recovers medical surplus from US hospitals and redistributes it in healthcare facilities in the developing world. Usable medical supplies that otherwise would end up in landfills in the U.S. are able to help those in need, including many patients at HAS.
We have used solar power in our four community health centers for about 10 years, and are exploring incorporating solar power into the hospital’s power generation system to help reduce diesel costs and pollution.
We also plan to replace our current x-ray system, which uses film and chemicals to develop film, with a digital system that will reduce waste and chemical pollution while improving diagnostic capabilities.
HAS is committed to employing green practices wherever possible as we work with the community to improve their health and quality of life.