For ten years Hugh Tozer has volunteered in many capacities for Konbit Sante, a non-profit founded by Mainers to strengthen the health system in Haiti. A 30-year engineer and water safety expert, Hugh has chaired Konbit Sante's Infrastructure Committee, working to improve and maintain the buildings, water, sanitation, and electronics for Justinian University Hospital, a 250-bed facility in Cap-Haitien: pop. 500,000+ , the 2nd largest city in Haiti and Portland's sister-city. Conditions at Justinian were unspeakably poor. Prior to Konbit Sante, the hospital had a single well providing 3% of the water used by a comparably-sized U.S. hospital, not even enough clean water for drinking (by patients or staff) or for basic hand-washing.
Through Hugh's personal efforts as well as those he has inspired to volunteer by his side (both American and Haitian colleagues), Justinian Hospital's water has increased by 600%, and a disinfection system prevents contamination. Additionally, Justinian now has X-ray equipment; major electrical improvements; a sterilizer for medical equipment; supplies and training for water treatment during the recent cholera epidemic; and the list goes on.
Through these last 10 years Hugh has served Konbit Sante as a board member and most recently as board president. He has helped to create and implement changes to the agency itself that improve its effectiveness. He has traveled to Haiti 25 times (at his own expense) to guide the construction of Justinian's improvements.
He has devoted countless hours to outreach in the greater Portland area, educating children and adults about Haiti, recruiting volunteers, and enlisting financial support for Konbit Sante. Largely because of the work of Hugh Tozer, half a million men, women, and children in Haiti have better, safer access to medical care.