Haiti Four Months Later…

Four months after the earthquake in Haiti, it is being argued that the poor are receiving better healthcare than before the quake due to the influx of medical volunteers and donated medicines, working under the supervision of the Ministry of Public health and Population.  In an effort to address the question of what will happen after the foreign medical aid leaves, the Post- Disaster Needs Assessment estimates that the earthquake resulted in US $169 million in damages to health infrastructure alone and in addition to that, their three-year plan to improve the country’s health profile beyond pre-January 12th levels will cost US $546 million. Currently, “Outside medical organizations are now the backbone of Haitian medical care,” says Dana Van Alphen, regional adviser for disaster management at the Pan American Health Organization who has been involved in discussions with a Haitian presidential health commission. In an effort to make these improvements in access to healthcare permanent, the PDNA identified primary health (along with  adequate  follow-up) and the establishment mobile clinics and health centers as a means to provide universal access, quality services and essential medications. This would allow care to be available nationwide instead of concentrated in Port-au- Prince.

The PDNA also recommends a massive investment in training for Haitian medical professionals because it is believed that now that the need for urgent care has subsided and the consequences of the earthquake are no ;longer front page news, the influx of foreign health professionals is fading. This transition would include pairing Haitian medical personnel with foreign staff for training and transferring functional control of hospitals and clinics to locals.

To begin the process proposed by the PDNA, a company called Containers to Clinics will transport a ready-made clinic, which will be transported in two pieces to the grounds of Graces Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince . The clinic is set to leave Boston around May 15 in a truck, which will haul it to Brooklyn, New York, where it will be loaded on a freight ship and be set up by June.

Please follow this link to read an executive summary of the PDNA.

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