Great new hospital in Haiti with the same bad concrete

NOTE: this post was authored prior to discovering that Partners in Health was transitioning to more modern concrete production systems. The Mirebalais Hospital project is now a symbol of how the concrete supply chain can work in Haiti when the right support is provided. We salute Partners in Health for these efforts

Partners is Health is building a new hospital to help the sick in Haiti. They have great plans to bring the best technology to the Island of Hispaniola. When you watch the video promoting their new construction project you will see some really big equipment and heavy trucks moving around the construction site.

Then at the 3:45 mark of the video there are the images that should make us all think seriously. You will see highlighted the images of shovels mixing concrete on the ground. An action that has been proven to be deadly for Haitian families during an earthquake.

Here is another example of spending money on some of the best equipment available, and yet forgetting to take the shovels out of the concrete construction process in poor nations.

The goal of this hospital is to teach Haitians how to provide quality care, and Partners in Health seem to be very qualified to meet that objective. But who is providing the quality concrete for this hospital’s construction? Well, you can see them for yourself at the 3:45 minute point in this video.

The words “we are ready and primed to responsibly and adequately build a facility…” introduce you to the images of concrete being mixed on the ground with shovels! The proof is at the 3:40 mark.

These people are all well-meaning and they really are trying to do the right thing for Haiti. I hope that they have people inspecting and testing the concrete that will be asked to hold up all that heavy masonry. Haiti has enough crumbled concrete blocks and cement in their rubble piles.

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About cementtrust

I am a director with Cement Trust and passionate about improving cement-based production in the poorest nations of the world.
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4 Responses to Great new hospital in Haiti with the same bad concrete

  1. Thank you for advocating for high quality construction in Haiti. In constructing Mirebalais Hospital, concrete quality is one of our top priorities. Many concrete tests and engineering reviews have been, and will continue to be, performed throughout the duration of the project. We have various sized concrete mixers being used on site with an even larger concrete batch plant to be assembled in the near future. The mix being prepared in the large “pools” on the ground (in the video) is being used primarily for CMU grout infill.

    We invite you to continue following the construction this important new facility here: http://www.pih.org/mirebalais.

    • cementtrust says:

      We are happy to learn that you are using modern mixer technology on the hospital construction site. This should be publicized as a model for construction practice in Haiti.

      Our concern was the impression that the video gave to us and potentially to others that mixing concrete on the ground was an acceptable construction practice for building a large structure, like your hospital.

      How can we work with your organization to help others understand that proper mixing technology and testing should be the norm, rather than the exception in the poorest countries of the world?

      We will continue to follow the progress of your good work.

    • Marahlia says:

      I agree with cementtrust with respect to better building in Haiti. Hoping once more, history does nt repeat itself.

      In the video Dr. Walton states that the hospital will have state of the art teaching rooms that will accommodate seminars and teaching route for the medical students. Will the Haitian medical students have the opportunity to use the facility or will it only be made available to foreign volunteer medical students?

      also is Partner in Health planning on buiding similar facilities in other cities of other regions of Haiti, like Les Cayes, Jérémie, Cap-Haitien?

  2. Rick E. says:

    As a structural engineer who lived in Haiti for 20 months following the earthquake, and actually inspected some of the construction at the hospital, I can confirm PIH’s response that quality construction practices are being followed at the hospital. It never ceases to amaze me that persons who spend little or no time on the ground in Haiti, can view one little video clip and come to judgment that Haitian building practices aren’t improving. My suggestion is to move to Haiti… live Haiti… be part of the Mirebalais community… watch the construction… and then seek to understand the difficulties that Dr. Farmer and others face on a daily basis.

    Kenbe La Ayiti!!

    Rick E.

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