Toilet paper is something that it is not adequately appreciated until one does not have it - and forty percent of Haitians do not. Myrtha Vilbon, with support from USAID, has grown her toilet paper production facility significantly. While Haiti is not yet an easy place to do business, she has done well, with over 100 employees (70 of them women) in her factory. The full article by the Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles follows.
The Haitian Ministry of Health and its partners have launched a new HIV/AIDS campaign focused on raising awareness, rapid testing, and treatment. With the support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria and other donors, Haitians can be tested and treated for free. Stigma and discrimination, especially against women and members of the LGBT community, remain challenges. Courtesy of AFP, more information about the campaign follows.
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.
Art is perhaps Haiti’s only inexhaustible resource. Generations of artists have carried on Haiti’s artistic traditions although political instability limited opportunities available to them. Louise Perrichon and Pascale Monnin are now leading an effort to recreate the Centre d’Art in Port au Prince which was destroyed in the earthquake. Its mission will remain the same – to find, mentor, and promote young Haitian artists. David McFadeen's full article follows. Learn how to get involved at the Centre d’Art website (in both French and English).
Timberland has made significant investments in reforestation in Haiti, which you can learn about in the documentary "Kombit: The Cooperative". Timberland's persistence and partnerships have resulted in five million trees (many of them fruit-bearing) being planted. According to The Guardian, Timberland is also supporting a feasibility study to determine if Haiti could become a significant producer of organic cotton. Cotton production is not without its challenges and the jury is still out as to whether it is a crop that makes sense for Haiti. The full article follows below.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an emergency appeal to assist one million Haitians affected by prolonged drought made worse by El Niño. According to WFP, 3.6 million people face food insecurity. Haiti struggles to feed itself even in the best of times due to deforestation, erosion, vulnerability to natural disasters, land tenure issues, lack of modern equipment and techniques and questionable aid and trade practices. WFP will rely not only on food distributions but also cash assistance so beneficiaries can buy the food they need locally. WFP’s efforts are needed, welcomed, and worth supporting - as is the long-term development of domestic agriculture.
The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) is mandated to release annual country-specific human rights reports that address individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2015 report for Haiti is linked and copied below. There have been some modest improvements from last year - for example in improving oversight of the police. However, there is a long way to go in reforming the justice system, corrections, and protecting the rights of women, children, and the disabled. Post your thoughts about human rights in Haiti below.
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.