New hospital in Haiti brings hope for rural population

Representatives of Catholic Medical Mission Board and Living Mercy Health join members of the family of the late Bishop Joseph Sullivan and Berndardito Auza, apostolic nuncio to the United Nations, for dedication of Bishop Joseph R. Sullivan Hospital in Cotes de Fer, Haiti, on March 21, 2017. Representatives of Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) and Mercy Health join members of the family of the late Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan and Berndadito Auza, apostolic nuncio to the United Nations, for dedication of the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Center for Health in Cotes de Fer, Haiti, on March 21, 2017.

A new hospital opened Monday in a remote section of southern Haiti where residents once had to travel for hours on rutted roads to reach a relatively well equipped medical center.

In a statement, the nonprofit group CMMB-Healthier Lives Worldwide said the health center in the isolated coastal community of Cotes-de-Fer will serve more than 50,000 people who previously did not have access to decent care.

A U.S. organization in Kentucky and Ohio called Mercy Health provided $2 million for construction costs. Haiti's health ministry will provide technical and support staff. Local community members donated the land for the facility.

Dr. Dianne Jean Francois, CMMB's country director in Haiti, said the hospital will "strengthen the local health system in a long-term and sustainable way."

"It was a truly joyful day for a community that has seen so much tragedy," said Matt Malone, S.J., Editor in Chief of America and a board member of the Catholic Medical Mission Board.

Father Malone said the the hospital will be named in honor of Bishop Joseph Sullivan, the Brooklyn native who served as chairman of the Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens and in the Social Development and World Peace department of the U.S. bishops' conference. Bishop Sullivan died in 2013.

"It's fitting that this facility should bear his name. Bishop Joe truly loved and served the least among us," Father Malone said.

Article includes staff reporting.

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