Supporting the Health system in Haiti
Louis Joseph Auguste, MD, MPH
Among the highest rates of cervical cancer and deaths from cervical cancer. Among the highest rates of materno-infantile mortalities! A low rate of vaccination against the most common infectious diseases! There is no doubt that the Health system in Haiti is and has been in a most dire situation.
Heath care is supposed to be free in Haiti, but in fact, the patients in the government hospitals are only entitled to a bed within the hospital. They have to bring their own beddings and their own food. They have to pay for the intravenous fluids, the tubing and even the needle for the intravenous administration of the fluids. When more than half of the population earns less than one dollar a day, one can easily understand that the least illness can easily lead to a premature death.
Almost daily, groups of physicians and nurses travel to Haiti on “Medical Mission” and bring down outdated medications, used equipment that breaks down within the first few weeks and they come back to tell stories, one more horrific than others.
Meanwhile, the Haitian who could afford to pay, fly to Miami or New York or cross the border to the neighboring Dominican Republic. The same goes for our politicians who received funds from the government to go to these foreign destinations for their health needs, funds that could be used to support the local institutions for the benefit of the population at large.
In the United States, most hospitals receive grants and donations from wealthy individuals or families, from successful businesses or philanthropic organizations, without which they probably would not exist. In Haiti, I have yet to see a suite, a pavilion or any structure in a Hospital or clinic donated by local enterprises. The local leaders fail to understand that in some instances, they may not have the luxury to fly out of the country and a functioning hospital may one day save their lives.
As part of the activities of the AMHE Foundation, a group of physicians, nurses and other health professionals who have volunteered repeatedly in Haiti have joined forces to invest in the infrastructure of the Hospitals, starting with Justinien Hospital, home to so many young physicians in training, the future of health care in Haiti and a referral center for the entire North, North East and North West of Haiti as well as the Haitian migrants who have no access to medical care in the Northern part of the Dominican republic and the closest islands of the Bahamas.
This group of health care professionals would like to invite you to join them in a fund raiser that will be held on Sunday October 28, 2018. The funds will be used to upgrade the operating rooms at Justinien, improve the conditions in the Maternity ward, and continue our various programs of screening for breast and cervical cancer, as well as other women and children’s health initiatives.