All posts by chloel

You Can’t Have a Home Without a Foundation

The inadequate primary health care systems in Haiti have left thousands of Haitians to suffer from deadly diseases without any proper care.  Despite the numerous NGOs and organizations helping Haiti, to make any lasting changes to the devastating health crisis in Haiti, adjustments need to be made directly to the health care systems themselves.  Even though the Haitian economy has been stabilitized with an annual GDP growth rate of 1.5%, that does not bring the majority of the country out of poverty and they are still facing the same health issues.  There has only been a 7% increase of citizens that have access to health from 2008 when 47% of the country’s population did not have any access to health care. Most Haitians are still able to live on only $2 a day. On top of the diseases taking over Haitian life, such as malaria and HIV, a frightening amount of Haitians are only able to afford scarce quantities of food, allowing them only to have poor nutrition diets.  

After the 2015 magnitude 7.0 earthquake leaving 220,000 people dead and another 300,00 injured, a surplus of aid went towards Haiti including aid from the NGOs Doctors Without Borders and Partners in Health. Organizations donated a total of $13.5 billion dollars of aid with the purpose of “building a better Haiti”. Surprisingly, this outrageous amount of aid had little impact on the health crisis.  There have been a surplus of short-term improvements. Doctors Without Borders has assisted with 1,869 births, performed 7,950 major surgeries and had 25,500 outpatient consultations. Following the earthquake, was a cholera outbreak.  While NGOs were very beneficial in aiding the health of some Haitians, there were too many citizens infected with diseases and in poor health for a noticeable impact on overall health.  The Haitian government has been completely reliant on the aid to fix their health crisis as well as their economy, but how much aid can be given to Haiti when there are no long term plans to help their citizens? Especially as more problems accumulate. Just in the past year there has been a rise in gun violence, which is the government’s main concern right now. However, the victims don’t have anywhere to go for medical asssitance since there has been no health care system established.  Despite the Haitian government’s plans to establish long-term solutions to resolve the health care system, they have made no specific solutions or actions, unlike the NGOs. Many are questioning how the government has blown through the funds that they received to establish a better future for Haiti, when there are no signs of any new hospitals or equal health care opportunities for their citizens. The Partners in Health organization has opened the University Hospital in Mirebalais to provide health care to more patients, with the help of numerous donors who funded the project.  

As of right now, the govenrment isn’t putting the aid into what they really need- a stable health care system. If the NGOs were better funded, they could work with the government to develop a proper primary health care system that reaches more than 60% of the country, so future aid will be more impactful and health crisises in the future won’t be as much of a concern. Also, if more aid went into long-term projects instead of directly to the government, such as the University Hospital in Mirebalais, it would help thousands of patients currently suffering from disease and future patients.  A large portion of the aid should go directly into Haiti’s budget for health care as well. Currently, Haiti spends per capita US $13 per year on health care, a number way too low for their drastic health crisis.