We at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti celebrate a tremendous honor which has been bestowed upon two great HAS medical professionals. Rolf Maibach, MD, board member and former Medical Director, and Marianne Kauffman Barthelmy, RN, were chosen by a nationwide public television poll in Switzerland as the joint winners of the Swiss of the Year Award. One of the largest media events in Switzerland, the televised awards ceremony drew millions of viewers who were exposed to Haiti, its challenges, and its strength and resilience. With warm acceptance speeches by Rolf and Marianne, the ceremony highlighted the work of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, and introduced the institution to a wide base of new friends for HAS. Rolf and Marianne are featured on the front cover of the January 2011 Switzerland Illustrated magazine with their award.
For over 14 years Rolf Maibach, a pediatrician, worked here at HAS and Marianne spent several years here as a nurse. Both worked diligently here during the difficult times after the earthquake, when HAS treated more than 1,000 patients from the Port- au-Prince region on an emergency basis. During those weeks, every member of the clinical staff at HAS worked tirelessly, encouraged by the example of selfless service which was set forth by Rolf and Marianne. In accepting their award, and in the many media interviews which followed, they credited the Haitian medical and nursing staff for their achievements during this trying time, and expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to join them in responding to a great human need.
Rolf Maibach and his wife Raphaela, who has also worked tirelessly on behalf of HAS, returned to Haiti this week, and were welcomed by their many admirers in the hospital and in the community. A celebration at the hospital allowed the Maibachs to visit with many friends and to enjoy the music of a recently-formed band which have written all of their own songs.
Rolf Maibach and Marianne Kauffman Barthelmy will be honored further at a ceremony in Switzerland in June, including having their names chiseled into rocks in the Alps. We would like to say a heart-felt thank you to Rolf and Marianne and congratulations on winning this esteemed award!