Healing Hands for Haiti (HHH) and The Special Fund for the Disabled of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officially inaugurated a new physical rehabilitation centre in Port-au-Prince on May 22, 2012. The facility opened its doors following a year of rebuilding and repair work on the previous structure, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 12 January 2010. The centre was rebuilt and equipped thanks to financial support from the American Red Cross, the Australian Red Cross and the Norwegian Red Cross.
According to government figures, one of every 10 Haitians lives with a physical disability. The new centre will be able to treat approximately 1,000 patients a year, for whom HHH will provide prosthetic and lightweight orthotic devices, walking aids and physical therapy services. In addition, the centre has a state-of-the-art workshop as well as classroom space for training future Haitian rehabilitation caregivers.
"It was urgent to reopen the centre in an earthquake-resistant structure," said François Blaise, a prosthetist-orthotist with the Special Fund for the Disabled, who is in charge of the project. "The work can now be performed in better conditions, and quality services can be provided for the many patients."
Over the next five years, the ICRC's Special Fund for the Disabled will maintain its support for the centre's production of artificial limbs and other devices suited to patients' needs, and for its training of staff.
“This building is everything Healing Hands for Haiti had envisioned when we started planning for a treatment and educational center of rehabilitation medicine in Haiti two years ago after the devastating earthquake,” said Riche Zamor, Executive Director of Healing Hands for Haiti.
Healing Hands for Haiti, founded in 1999, endeavours to provide physical rehabilitation and medical services with the aim of eventually turning them over to Haitian management.