In Haiti, Gang violence continues unchecked. Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, which serves more than 700,000 people in the Artibonite Valley and Central Plateau regions, has suspended operations for all but emergency cases. In Port-au-Prince, gangs are taking control of more neighborhoods and operating with total impunity. Residents of Cite Soleil are essentially captive – unable to access food, medical care, and other essential services. A New Humanitarian article about the worsening situation in Cite-Soleil by Evens Mary and Paula Depraz-Dobias follows.
Haiti’s investment in health has dropped from 16.6 percent in 2004 to 4.4 percent in 2017 despite everything its people have been through since then - unrest, cholera, natural disasters, the earthquake, COVID-19, gender-based violence, and grinding poverty. Opportunities to consult formally trained mental health workers rmeain rare. For a country of nearly 11 million, Haiti also only has 23 psychiatrists and 124 psychologists. Some alternatives, such as hotlines, are beginning to emerge in response. Linked and below is an article by Jessica Obert in the New Humanitarian about the mental health situation in Haiti.
The Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) is Haiti's largest provider of scholarships for talented youth who would not otherwise be able to afford a higher education. Digicel, a major supporter of education programs, has taken note and provided HELP a $10,000 grant as well as two new phone lines with $1,200 of prepaid talk time. In addition, an anonymous donor has recently offered HELP a $25,000 challenge grant. This is an excellent opportunity for HELP to expand educational opportunities to a new generation of future community, corporate, and government leaders.
Protests, tire burnings, clay biscuits and/or questionable studies on HIV/AIDS are what it usually takes for Haiti to make the news. When reporters do visit Haiti, they rarely make it outside of Port au Prince. I was pleased to come across "Assignment Haiti" with Calvin Hughes (Local 10 News in Miami.) The report captures both the scope of the challenges facing Haiti as well as the country's tremendous potential. The fundamental question asked is whether there is hope for a New Day in Haiti. After you watch this piece, we think you will agree that there is.