Below is an article by Miami Herald journalist Jacqueline Charles about Haiti's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the University Hospital of Mirebalais which plays a central role in it. The University Hospital is one of the few hospitals with the capacity to stabilise patients with COVID-19 and to provide these services free of charge. The Hospital staff are preparing for a potential surge in cases which could be caused by Haitians returning from the Dominican Republic due to lost livelihoods, the near impossibility of social distancing, and a health care system that was fragile even prior to the pandemic. If you are looking for a way to help Haiti as it responds to the pandemic, consider a donation to Partners in Health which manages the University Hospital and remains the largest non-profit health care provider in the country.
Below is a PRI article about the Petrochallengers - a (mostly) younger generation of activists who, rather than just changing heads of state, want to reform the underlying systems that prevent accountability, transparency, and justice. Corruption is so pervasive in Haiti that it is all too easy to become numb to it - but the misuse/outright theft of over a billion dollars in PetroCaribe funds was the last straw . These funds could have produced the roads, hospitals, schools, and environmental programming Haiti needed to get back on the right track. Without bringing those responsible to account, it remains business as usual. While they may not think of themselves as revolutionaries, bringing about a government that invests in its own people would be nothing short of revolutionary.
While protests are nothing new in haiti, the scale of the ongoing demonstrations againt corruption and economic hardship are the largest in recent memory. Unfortunately, the instability is negatively affecting operations at hospitals. Even prior to the protests, many Haitian health care facilities lacked the medicines and equipment necessary to treat the sick. It doesn't have to be like this and protestors understand that there will not be a better future until corruption is brought under control. Below is recent article by CNN writer Sam Kiley about the impact on on health care facilities, staff, and patients.
Below is an article from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Haiti. While Haiti is one of only four countries in the Americas where LF is found, progress is being made toward elimination. Many partners are working together to that end including the Haitian Ministry of Health, the CDC, USAID, IMA World Health, the University of Notre Dame, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. More information follows.
Three years ago, Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante) and the Haitian Ministry of Health opened a major research, training, and practice hospital in Mirebalais. As part of this complex, Zanmi Lasante is opening a new reference laboratory. What this means for patients is a quicker diagnosis, better treatment, and more positive health outcomes. Learn more about Partners in Health's work in Haiti here.
Hesperian has released a wide variety of free health guides including "Where There is No Doctor" or what Peace Corps volunteers with too much time on their hands to analyze their maladies call "Where There is a Hypochondriac." Their latest guide on understanding and preventing Zika is available in English, Portugese, French, and Haitian Kreyol. The guide is will be updated on a regular basis. More information about Hesperian and ways to support them below.
Below is a Miami Herald article by Patrick Riley concerning the recent passing of Marie Chery. I was fortunate to be able to work with her as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thomonde. Marie was a good nurse, a model humanitarian, a strong community leader, and an excellent human being. She died too early but, thanks to her, many more people have access to health care than they would otherwise. Marie will be missed. A good way to remember her would be through donations to organizations that support health care in Haiti.
The UN has released its 2014 Humanitarian Action Plan for Haiti. While 89% of camp residents have moved out and significant progress has been made against cholera, significant challenges remain such as halting environmental degradation and reducing vulnerability to disasters. The plan focuses on meeting the basic needs of those remaining in the camps, addressing the cholera epidemic, increasing food security, and strengthening the leadership and capacity of national authorities. A summary of the plan follows.
According to Trenton Daniel and Martha Mendoza, a ten year $2.2 billion dollar plan to eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic will be released shortly. The plan will be government-led with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the WHO/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). It is yet to be determined who will fund the plan and to what extent although the World Bank has indicated it will contribute. Although it will take years, eliminating cholera is neccesary both for protecting public health and promoting investment.
Below is a National Public Radio piece by Jason Beaubien on the status of the Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital, which will be Haiti’s largest health care facility. The hospital is a priority for the Ministry of Health, which will be running the facility jointly with Partners in Health. Eventually, the Ministry of Health will manage the facility itself. When operational, the hospital will be mainly powered by solar energy. Internet connectivity opens the door to new training opportunities. In a recovery where much has gone wrong, the hospital is a symbol of what has gone right, and could be a model for replication in Haiti and elsewhere.