Construction-oriented non-profit organization reacts to the earthquake in Haiti

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14 left much of the infrastructure on the country’s southern peninsula. A Beverly, Massachusetts-based nonprofit with ties to a major U.S. contractor wants to help rebuild.

Build Health International has designed, built, and serviced high quality healthcare infrastructures around the world for more than a decade. The group was co-founded by Jim Ansara, former CEO of Boston-based Shawmut Design and Construction, after a 2010 earthquake devastated the island.

The aim is to provide sustainable and high quality healthcare infrastructure such as hospitals and medical clinics in resource-poor regions around the world. From the start, Shawmut has supported the organization’s mission through donations in kind, volunteers and industry expertise for projects around the world.

Following the recent earthquake, BHI has mobilized its Haitian team of engineers, electricians and technicians and is sending US-based logistics specialists to clinics and hospitals in Haiti’s southern peninsula, where they will further assess damage, assess safety and coordinate immediate repairs to ensure that patients can be treated as quickly as possible.

BHI is also working with other relief groups in Massachusetts to facilitate shipping of medical supplies, deploy surgeons, and set up a temporary trauma and surgery center at St. Boniface Hospital, built by BHI.

Working in 26 countries

In the past 11 years, BWI in Haiti has built over 60 projects to strengthen health infrastructure across the country, including the National Teaching Hospital in Mirebalais. Despite the extensive damage caused by the earthquake, the teaching hospital and St. Bonifatius are strong and prove that stable and sustainable building is possible in Haiti, the message says.

Since then, BHI has designed, built and equipped more than 200 health-related spaces in 26 countries so that local doctors, nurses and medical professionals can reach their full potential. Working closely with health ministries, partner organizations and local workers, BWI promotes sustainable design, empowers communities and enables access to dignified and affordable health care in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

“We are so saddened by the devastation that this catastrophic earthquake wrought in Haiti, a country that has already seen so much devastation,” said Les Hiscoe, CEO of Shawmut, in the press release. “We feel humble to contribute to Build Health International’s efforts to urgently relieve and repair hospitals in the country’s southern peninsula.”

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