Health Care in Haiti

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On New Year’s Eve, I boarded a plane to Port au Prince, Haiti. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I was participating in a three-week study with the University of Colorado, traveling with a group of individuals who I had never met. Our research would be focused on the implementation and sustainability of a number of proposed health care models, as well as other components to improve the social well-being in this struggling nation. Despite being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, several major health developments have taken place in recent years. For this reason, Haiti has served as a model for what might be done to implement health systems in other developing nations around the world. Most of the sites we visited dealt with significant societal issues that the majority of Haiti was suffering from as a nation. This included unemployment rates of nearly 70%, staggeringly high rates of infant and maternal deaths during pregnancy, access to basic medication and equipment, clean water, accessible roads, etc. Furthermore, the catastrophic aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010 was still visible today. To put things into perspective, Typhoon Haiyan, the latest major natural disaster that struck the Philippines this past February, claimed the lives of approximately 6,000 people. Three years prior, Haiti lost an estimated 180,000, or thirty times as many lives that the Philippines lost. On top of that, imagine the condition of the people who were fortunate to survive. If you lived, you may have been permanently injured – amputated limb, paralysis. And if you were lucky enough to have been uninjured, you undoubtedly lost family and friends. While walking throughout town, it was not uncommon for the children to begin asking foreigners questions. As you began to make small talk with the young children who pulled on your pants, they would ask, “Where are you from? Do you have parents? What are their names?” For a moment, it was exciting for a stranger to take interest in your life, asking about someone you care about. Then suddenly, it hits you, they’re all orphans. They lost their parent(s) in the quake…

Global Health Administration in Haiti - Class of 2014
Global Health Administration in Haiti – Class of 2014


















The trip was emotionally draining at times, but despite the tragedy, it was inspirational to see the good that has been done on behalf of foreign-aid. The United States has contributed more than $700 million in financial contributions, on top of the thousands of Americans who have volunteered their time, money, and resources to support this struggling nation. I am reluctant to say their future is bright – at least in the near future – however, good things are to come their way. I cannot begin to explain how beautiful the country truly was. In fact, Saint Marc was one of the most exhilarating twelve hours of my life. And a quick shout out to the wonderful and incredibly inspiring classmates and individuals that I met along the way.  Viv Haiti!



The Republic of Haiti

Hait, officially the Republic of Haiti, is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican RepublicAyiti (“land of high mountains”) was the indigenousTaíno name for the island. In French, the country is called “La Perle des Antilles” (The Pearl of the Antilles), because of its natural beauty. The country’s highest point is Pic la Selle, at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft). Both by area and population, Haiti is the third largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba and the Dominican Republic), with 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) and an estimated 10.4 million people, with just under a million of which live in the capital city, Port-au-PrinceFrench andHaitian Creole are the official languages.


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