The history of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF) begins in 1982 after its founder, Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, a Connecticut orthodontist, began to travel to Port au Prince to provide dental services on a volunteer basis.
In 1985, after working for three years in Port-au-Prince and other areas of Haiti with Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity, Mother Teresa requested that Dr. Lowney visit and witness firsthand the devastation at that time in Jérémie, which he did. It is at this point that Dr. Lowney decided to start making others in the US aware of the great need and began fundraising, which he continues to date. HHF began its official operation in the area of Jeremie in 1985 as a dental health clinic. Since then, HHF’s growth throughout the Grande-Anse and beyond has been robust, fueled by a good record of performance providing excellent quality services to meet the needs of those living in the areas it serves.
Today, HHF provides health care, education assistance, community development, and relief services to more than 250,000 people in more than 100 rural villages.
Health care services (clinic-based, public health, and residential) include: perinatal and well-baby care; residential care for severely malnourished children and women with high-risk pregnancies; disease prevention and management; vaccination; vitamin distribution; diabetes management; family planning and reproductive health; and vision, dental and mental health services. HHF also has an extensive school-based oral health education and prevention program.
In addition, as part of its operational approach, HHF shares experiences and lessons learned with others throughout Haiti. A proven and effective approach to service integration into primary healthcare as well as to citizen participation, rigorous use of healthcare data at all levels for decision-making, and open communication have yielded opportunities for professional outreach and development.
Dr. Jeremiah and Mrs. Virginia Lowney
After over 40 years, HHF now has two main physical structures in Jérémie and one in Dayer, along with three satellite clinics in Moron, Bigarade and Castillon. In Jérémie is the Center of Hope, HHF’s child and maternal health center and waiting home, which went into operation in 2002, and HHF’s main clinic, “Klinik Pep Bondye,” a fully-equipped, 27,000-square-foot outpatient clinic, dental clinic, mental health, X-ray, pharmacy, and residence, funded with private donations, opened in 1988 and is currently serving about 120,000 patients per year.
Currently, HHF has 248 full-time staff in Haiti of which 98% are Haitian. In Haiti, HHF has a Country Director, Finance Director, Medical Director, Community Health and Education Director, Community Development Director, Human Resource Director, in addition to support staff and trained US medical volunteers who often work side by side with the HHF staff. HHF has a health worker network in remote areas facilitating access to quality and reliable health care.
HHF intervenes in the fields of health, education, community development and assistance to poor families and is working intensely to bring about an improvement in the health and wellbeing of the population it serves.