Donkeys help increase access to medicine in Haiti

How does your doctor get to the clinic in the morning?

A safe bet would be to say a car. Perhaps a bicycle for the health conscious doctor or public transit for the urban doctor.

In Haiti this past November, a mobile medical team from B.C. with Heart to Heart Haiti used 22 motorcycles and four donkeys to get to their patients.

Now that paints a picture of how hard it is to access medicine for some rural populations.

“We did some serious off-roading as we climbed the mountain,” wrote Rebecca, the organizer.

The path had been damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October making it even worse than usual. On the day of the clinic in Tetbef, the donkeys were packed at 4:30 a.m. and ready to take the supplies, including three Humanitarian Medical Kits ( 2 for primary care and one Mother-Child Health Kit) provided by Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC).

When the team arrived later in the morning, there were more people than they expected. In total 150 people were seen on this one day. Malaria, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and joint pain were mostly what brought them.

Seven more clinics were held like this one and a total 1,396 patients were seen- more than half were children and the elderly.

“In Canada we can comfort our children and elderly with fever and pain management,” said Lauren Rose, a nurse on the team who submitted a report to HPIC. “This is not an option for 99% of the people we see here in Haiti.”

In each clinic they saw a lot of patients with fever. “We treated these patients and it is probable that death by sepsis, malaria or typhoid was prevented,” she reported to HPIC.

The Humanitarian Medical Kits are always “an essential core item” for their trips to Haiti.



Top 5 reasons to donate to HPIC as a Christmas gift

1. Easy and convenient
Browse HPIC’s gift catalogue, donate and check off everyone on your gift list from the comfort of your home. No line-ups, no traffic, no crowds.

Beautiful woman at home at the warmth of the fireplace, shopping online

2. Mobilize your Christmas gift giving budget to deliver health and hope
Imagine using the money you might spend on presents that are not wanted or needed and instead make a real impact in honour of someone special.

Every $1 donated to HPIC delivers at least $10 of essential medicine. This is a gift that will be appreciated and make a lasting impact. No complaints or returns –guaranteed!


Honour someone special and deliver health and hope

3. A donation of $1.20 is enough to provide 1 treatment

A $15 donation provides 12 courses of medical treatment

A $30 donation provides over 25 courses of medical treatment


4. Your gift will benefit several people:

  • The person you wish to honour
  • The person or community who will receive medical treatment they need thanks to you
  • You- you will feel the joy of giving and you will get a tax receipt for income tax purposes

5. Delegate your Christmas card to HPIC when you donate through the gift catalogue.
All you have to do is:

  • Check the box that reads: I would like to honour someone with this gift. Please send a card on my behalf.
  • Fill out the required fields

 HPIC will write and post a card on your behalf.  Deadline for Christmas mail delivery in Canada: Dec. 20. However, HPIC’s office will be open until Dec. 23 so you can continue to send your card requests. Donations can be processed online 24/7.

Gift catalogue

You can “shop” for the right donation by looking through our online gift catalogue. It is like a traditional retail Christmas catalogue but features various donation options.

Airlifted medicines being distributed in Haiti

Potentially more people could die in Haiti from cholera than the deadly hurricane that struck the Caribbean nation on Oct. 4 of this year.

On Nov. 15 a plane donated by Air Transat arrived delivering health and hope.

Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) helped fill the plane along with partner Food For The Poor Canada.

“It is so important for us to receive medicines and medical supplies,” Bishop Oge Beauvoir, Executive Director of Food For The Poor Haiti, told HPIC staff when they arrived with the medical relief. “You must understand that there is very little access to any medicine for most Haitians.”

The medicines were donated by 19 healthcare companies in Canada in response to needs identified by Food For The Poor, including cholera treatment and primary care medicines.

To see the arrival of the 16 skids of medicine and hear from HPIC’s Haitian partner, watch this 2.5 minute video.

HPIC staff saw some of the unloading of the plane and then went to Food For The Poor Haiti to meet staff and see the warehouse.

The warehouse contains a variety of goods, all well organized and properly inventoried.

“Nothing lasts more than about 5 days in here, it is in and out,” Beauvoir explained.

“The facility was spic and span,” said HPIC’s President Denis St-Amour. “It would compare with similar facilities in Canada. I was impressed by the professionalism of the staff and how the facility is managed.”

The medicines are being distributed into Food For The Poor Haiti’s national distribution network of schools, orphanages, clinics, hospitals, churches and community groups.

“We represented so many people in Canada who made this relief possible,” said Denis St-Amour. “It was our honour to represent the people of the 19 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies that donated high-quality long dated medicines. There is so much appreciation in Haiti for your gift. You truly delivered health and hope to Haiti last week.”


Airlift for Haiti leaves Nov. 15 with medicine to treat 50,000 people and water purification tablets to provide 12 million litres of clean water

MONTREAL (Nov. 14, 2016) – 16 skids of medicine and 2.8 million water purification tablets leave for Haiti tomorrow Nov. 15. Air Transat offered an airplane to Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC) to fill with emergency supplies. FFPC worked with Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) to procure medicines to treat cholera and other diseases. HPIC mobilized Canada’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, which responded with enough medicine to treat 50,000 people.


1.     Tuesday: 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. at the Air Transat counter at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Dorval (or up to 7:30 a.m. for telephone interviews)

2.     Tuesday: tentatively between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. upon arrival

3.     Wednesday: At HPIC’s office in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec or by telephone (see contact below)

“We would like to thank HPIC and the Canadian pharmaceutical industry for such an excellent response to our needs list for Haiti,” said Samantha Mahfood, Executive Director of FFPC. “We would also like to thank the Air Transat team for their incredible efforts to prevent further spread of cholera.”

HPIC communicated the needs from Haiti to our national network of donors in the generic, innovative and self-care industries in Canada and received donations from 19 companies. The donations totalled $2 million Canadian fair market value and $1.3 million will be on the plane. HPIC is also equipping other partners, including mobile teams, who are working in Haiti.

“We are so grateful to our pharmaceutical donors who have made this possible, and also for the gift from Air Transat and the strong partnership with Food For The Poor Canada,” said Denis St-Amour, HPIC’s President.

The flight will be seen off in Montreal by the Ambassador of Haiti to Canada, Frantz Liautaud, and Jean-François Lemay, President of Air Transat. Denis St-Amour and Samantha Mahfood will be flying down on the plane. The plane will be welcomed in Port-au-Prince by the Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Paula Caldwell St-Onge, along with Bishop Oge Beauvoir, Executive Director of Food For The Poor Haiti.

What is on board?

  1. 16 skids of medicine = medical treatment for 50,000 Haitians (provided by HPIC and donated by 19 companies)
  • Antibiotics
  • Analgesics
  • Oral rehydration
  • Other requested medication
  • Supplies (e.g. gloves)
  1. 2.8 million water purification tablets = 12 million litres of clean water (purchased with funds donated by Canadians to FFPC)

Donor companies of medicine and medical supplies:
Apotex, AstraZeneca, Fresenius Kabi Canada Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline, Henry Schein, Johnson & Johnson, LEO Pharma Canada, Odan, Paladin, Patterson Dental,  Pediapharm, Pfizer, Pharmascience, Sanofi, Sun Pharma, Taro, Teligent, Teva Canada Limited, Vita Health.

About Health Partners International of Canada
Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) is a Montreal-based charity dedicated to increasing access to medicine for the most vulnerable people in the world. The only organization of its kind in Canada, HPIC is the charity of choice for gift-in-kind donations from Canada’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. HPIC equips volunteers, medical mission teams and humanitarian organizations with Humanitarian Medical Kits and large provisions of medicine and medical supplies for medical missions and health projects. Working with our Canadian and global network of implementing partners, HPIC provides medical relief, responds to emergencies and builds capacity. Every year HPIC provides medical treatment to 1 million people in over 50 countries.

For more information, please contact:

Christina Parsons
Director of communications
Health Partners International of Canada

About Food For The Poor Canada

Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC) empowers communities in Haiti and Jamaica through five areas of programming: food, housing, education, health and livelihood. Through basic aid and sustainable development, FFPC responds to urgent needs while building community and social infrastructure.

For more information, please contact:

Samantha Mahfood
Executive Director
Food For The Poor Canada


50,000 Haitians to be treated thanks to Canada’s healthcare industry

Senior executives and representatives of Canada’s healthcare and pharmaceutical industry came to HPIC’s distribution centre yesterday to see 16 skids of medicines and supplies all packed and ready for airlift to Haiti. The Canadian fair market value of this relief, donated by 18 companies, is $1.3 million.

“We estimate that 50,000 people will get treated thanks to this shipment,” HPIC’s Linda Campbell told the donors of medicines. “Thank you.”

Linda’s personal story (Watch her 2-minute speech on HPIC’s youtube channel:

Linda told a personal story that showed the value of having access to donated medicines. “About 3 weeks ago, my husband had to go the emergency department at our local hospital because of what turned out to be kidney stones.

“There was a little girl about 2 years old, about the same age as our granddaughter, and clearly she was in pain and she was crying,” Linda recounted.

Everyone in the waiting room was anxious for this little girl to be treated. It is just heartbreaking to hear a child crying and whimpering, Linda said.

Eventually, the little girl was seen and we know that since she lives in Canada, she would be diagnosed and soon get the care and treatment she needed to get better.

Linda thinks about all the other children like this little one at the ER and her little granddaughter who don’t get treated because there is no care and there is certainly no medicine. Thousands of Haitian children will get treatment thanks to this mobilizing effort of the industry in Canada.

What’s going to Haiti?

HPIC sends what is needed and requested by partners on the ground. HPIC’s partner in Haiti for the airlifted medicines is Food For The Poor. They have a national distribution network and will ensure that people in need get the medicine they have been waiting for to get better.

Medicines and medical supplies in the airlift include antibiotics, analgesics, oral rehydration, gloves, medicine for skin infections, ulcers, diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.

“The medicines we put together for this particular project are for primary care use and to help address the cholera epidemic,” Linda said.

Continuing to work in Haiti

In total, HPIC received close to $2 million worth of medicines and supplies for Haiti relief following Hurricane Matthew. HPIC is also working to equip volunteers, healthcare professionals and medical teams who are travelling to Haiti. Next year, HPIC will begin a multi-year government–funded project in Haiti in partnership with Plan Canada called SHOW (Strengthening Health Outcomes for Women).

Companies that gave to Haiti relief

Fresenius Kabi Canada Ltd.
Henry Schein
Johnson & Johnson
LEO Pharma Canada
Patterson Dental
Sun Pharma
Teva Canada Limited
Vita Health

Apotex donations for Haiti arrive

This week Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) received a very large donation from Apotex in two different shipments.

The medicines were donated to HPIC for our Haiti emergency medical relief project.

“We are very grateful for the 7 skids of assorted medicines,” says Denis St-Amour, HPIC’s President. “This is the largest donation we have received for Haiti.”

The donation was an assortment of long-dated medicines specifically requested by HPIC’s on-the-ground partner Food For The Poor Haiti. It includes medicines for treating cholera and a host of other health issues Haitians face since Hurricane Matthew struck on Oct. 4, 2016.

Elie Betito of Apotex visited HPIC’s distribution centre in Oakville today to see the medicines being prepared for airlift.

Breaking the chains of mental illness in West Africa

Naked, chained to a tree, alone and abandoned. Never leaving your spot for days, weeks, even years. Outside in the sun, in the rain, day and night, day in and day out. Occasionally whipped and routinely starved. Living in your own filth, living an absolute nightmare.

This is the terrible reality for many people who are considered to have mental illness in West Africa. In Benin, for example, there is only one mental health hospital. And you have to pay to be admitted.

“These people are the forgotten of the forgotten. They are the most vulnerable people of a vulnerable population,” says Grégoire Ahongbonon, who is visiting Canada this month and stopped by the office of Health Partners International of Canada Oct. 27.

Must-watch amazing video produced by Dr. Benoit Des Roches, a psychiatrist from Quebec who volunteers with Grégoire.

Grégoire has made it his mission for the past 27 years to restore the dignity of these suffering people. He is the founder and director of l’Association Saint-Camille-de-Lellis, an organization that runs 16 centres for people living with mental illness in Benin, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Grégoire’s organization has treated more than 60,000 people. He has picked them off the street naked, broken the chains that are tying them to trees at “prayer camps” and rescued them from back rooms where their desperate families have been keeping them.

The horror they live is hard to describe. In this part of the world, people with mental illness are thought to be possessed by demons, involved in witchcraft, cursed.

There are thousands living at so-called “prayer camps” where they are tied to a tree until a prophet deems them healed. There is no treatment there, Grégoire explained, only prayers for healing. They are routinely starved in the hope that the demon that lives in their body will die.

Grégoire rescues them. First they clean them thoroughly, then diagnose, then treat. “Sometimes the impact of the treatment can be seen within days,” he told HPIC staff.

“The best stories are the people who have recovered and now work at our centres, helping people who are sick, like they once were, on the path of healing. There is so much hope in this work,” he says.

HPIC regularly provides psychotropic medication to Les Amis de la St-Camille, a Canadian organization that fundraises and helps provide needed resources to Grégoire’s organization.

“As long as there is one man in chains, it is humanity that is in chains,” Grégoire said in an interview with The New York Times.

“Thank you Eli Lilly and Pharmascience for the olanzapine (a drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disease),” he told HPIC. “We reserve it for the patients in the worst state and it works so well for acute crises.”

Grégoire is spending time in Canada to meet supporters and donors. It is challenging to get support for people with mental illness. His hope is kept alive by many individual successes, and propels him to share his powerful stories so more people can live with dignity and freedom.

Watch this New York Times video interview of Grégoire and report on his work

Grégoire thanks HPIC donors for medicine 

Major airlift for Haiti being prepped

Watch our Haiti relief update video

Air Transat is offering a free humanitarian charter to Haiti to Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) partner agency Food For The Poor Canada.

The airplane will be loaded with requested aid, including 15 skids of medicines and medical supplies donated by 19 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies in Canada.

Officials from Food For The Poor Haiti will personally meet the plane at Port-au-Prince’s Airport. HPIC has been working with Food For The Poor as an implementing partner in Haiti for 7 years.

To date, HPIC has received enough donated medicine to treat an estimated 65,000 Haitians. The donated medicine is in response to identified needs, including for primary care and for the cholera epidemic.

Donors of medicine and medical supplies to Haiti relief projects:

Fresenius Kabi Canada Ltd.
Henry Schein
Johnson & Johnson
LEO Pharma Canada
Patterson Dental
Sun Pharma
Teva Canada Limited
Vita Health

Oct. 19 Haiti medical relief update

A medical team left Toronto on Monday with Haiti medical relief . Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) has equipped them with enough medicines to treat an estimated 1,500 people.

Donate now to HPIC’s Haiti medical relief projects

Another medical team will be leaving B.C. Nov. 1 for a two-week mission to Haiti. They will be equipped with a Humanitarian Medical Kit for primary care and another kit for Mother-Child Health, enabling them to treat about 400 people.

Pharma industry mobilized

Meanwhile HPIC’s mobilization of medical aid from Canada’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industry continues. To date, HPIC has received $1.5 million in donated medicines and medical supplies for Haiti relief from members of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Consumer Health Products Canada, and Innovative Medicines Canada as well as independent companies.

“We are grateful to our Canadian pharmaceutical and healthcare industry for making this compassionate response from Canada possible,” says Denis St-Amour, HPIC’s President.  “The scale of this humanitarian crisis is huge and our partners tell us it will take months of relief work.”

Food For The Poor: HPIC’s on-the-ground partner

HPIC on-the-ground partner Food For The Poor has arranged an airlift leaving from Montreal Nov. 15. Skids of medicines and supplies, to address the cholera danger and other health problems, will be loaded onto that plane.

Food For The Poor reports that “cholera, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms are spreading as desperate people share close quarters with family and friends amid poor sanitary conditions which facilitates the transmission of disease.”

HPIC continues to appeal for emergency funding to help fund this emergency response and help us do more. Every $1 donated to HPIC delivers at least $10 of medicine to a community in need.

Donate now to HPIC’s Haiti medical relief projects

Donors of medicine and medical supplies to HPIC’s Haiti relief projects:

Henry Schein
Johnson & Johnson
LEO Pharma Canada
Patterson Dental
Vita Health


Haiti lies in ruin and cholera threatens even more lives

Haiti situation update- Oct. 12 2016

Donate to Haiti relief efforts

The entire country of Haiti is damaged from deadly Hurricane Matthew’s blow, but the western edge of Haiti was devastated. The towns of Les Cayes, Port Salut and Jérémie have whole blocks that are rubble.

And now cholera is threatening even more lives. Haiti was suffering from a cholera epidemic even before the hurricane. More than 10,000 people have died from cholera since the 2010 earthquake. Now natural water sources are contaminated by storm water and sewage overflow.

$1 million worth of medicines and medical supplies  needed in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew have been offered to Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) and more offers continue to arrive daily. These medicines are being donated by pharmaceutical and healthcare companies in Canada.

“This is very encouraging because we currently have a shortage of medicines at our Oakville distribution centre following some relief projects for Syrian refugees,” says Denis St-Amour, President of HPIC. “Over 26 years of operation, we know that when emergencies strike vulnerable populations, the Canadian industry rallies to the international call to help.”

Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti Oct. 4, 2016. The Category 4 hurricane was the most powerful storm in the Caribbean in the last decade.

“Some towns and villages have been almost wiped off the map,” said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The secretary general called for a massive international response to prevent more deaths in Haiti.

HPIC has several implementing program partners on the ground and will be mobilizing emergency medical relief in the weeks to come.

Food For The Poor, a partner agency, says “the death toll in Haiti continues to rise and Haitian officials are estimating that at least 350,000 people need assistance, with 28,000 homes damaged.”

To date, AstraZeneca, Henry Schein, Johnson & Johnson, LEO Pharma Canada, Paladin, Patterson Dental, Pfizer, Pharmascience and Taro have donated or committed to donating needed medical aid to HPIC’s Hurricane relief project.

Donate to Haiti relief efforts