New TB hospital and research center opens in Haiti

May / June 2015 | Volume 14, Issue 3

Courtyard of the new TB hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, balcony walkway overlooks central atrium
Photo courtesy of GHESKIO

The new GHESKIO facility has opened five years after a
catastrophic earthquake destroyed the major TB hospitals in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

​A state-of-the-art hospital and research center has opened in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to treat tuberculosis patients and investigate ways to improve care. The Haitian Study Group on Opportunistic Infection and Kaposi's Sarcoma, or GHESKIO, opened the new facility five years after a catastrophic earthquake destroyed the major TB hospitals in Haiti's capital. GHESKIO - a longtime Fogarty grantee - is a nongovernmental service, research and training center that operates in partnership with Weill Cornell Medical College and the Haitian Ministry of Health.

The new 35-room, open-air hospital will also be the site for clinical trials. A lab located nearby is equipped with cutting-edge technology, enabling physician-scientists to conduct advanced research to discover the molecular underpinnings of TB resistance. The lab's proximity to the hospital ensures that breakthroughs made at the bench can be rapidly translated into new treatments and therapies for patients, and that observations made by clinicians can open new lines of scientific inquiry in the lab. Weill Cornell was recently awarded a seven-year grant by NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to support this work.

"We do not have good drugs to treat this disease," said Dr. Jean W. Pape, a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell and founder and director of GHESKIO. "The drugs available to us have horrible side effects, and people get sicker from the drugs than the disease itself. By participating in clinical trials, we hope to improve the lives of our patients in Haiti and around the world."

The new facility was a combined effort of engineering firms from the U.S. and Haiti. It was conceived and supervised by MASS Design Group, headquartered in Boston, built by Chantiers d'Haiti and supervised by GBS, another Haitian firm. Funders included the global medical technology firm Becton-Dickinson and its former CEO Ed Ludwig, USAID, CDC, Weill Cornell and GHESKIO.

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