Haiti's Healthcare System

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The story of Haiti’s healthcare system is unfortunately tied all too closely to disaster, both man-made and nature-born. This paper will briefly discuss the pre-2010 earthquake healthcare environment in Haiti as the uncertainty that exists provides little opportunity to provide a reasoned understanding of its current national healthcare status. As the most basic indicator of health, the life expectancy from birth in Haiti based on estimates by the World Health Organization is reported to be approximately fifty-five (55) years (although there are a variety of competing numbers provided by other sources). The infant mortality rate is approximately eight percent (8%) and the less than 5 years old mortality rate is over eleven percent (11.7%) (Population Reference Bureau, 2009). Compounding these exceptionally troubling numbers is a significant population with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Again estimates vary, but the United Nations projects the national prevalence rate to be 4.5 percent of the population. Other estimates place the rate as high as 12 percent in the urban population and 5 percent in rural regions. As a small “win”, the infection rate for HIV/AIDS has recently shifted downward due to significant UNAIDS/WHO efforts (Haiti – Health). The lack of clear statistics for health status however reflects the unfortunate lack of even the most basic of medical services to Haitians. For example, only one-fourth of births are attended by a skilled health professional (Population Reference Bureau, 2004). Further, most rural areas have no access to health care, making residents heavily reliant on “traditional” and often ineffectual folk treatments. Outside of the operations of relig... ... middle of paper ... ...y/world/haiti/health.htm Haiti's Health Indicators Reflect Its Political and Economic Pains - Population Reference Bureau. (2004, January). Retrieved February 23, 2010, from http://www.prb.org/Articles/2004/HaitisHealthIndicatorsReflectItsPoliticalandEconomicPains.aspx International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). (2010, February). Haiti: from tragedy to opportunity (Rep.). Retrieved February 23, 2010, from International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies website: http://www.ifrc.org/Docs/reports/192600-Haiti-report-EN.pdf Haitian Medical Students in Cuba. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2010, from http://www.medicc.org/ns/index.php?p=4&s=33 www.msh.org - Management Sciences for Health - Republic of Haiti. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2010, from http://www.msh.org/global-presence/latin-america-and-the-caribbean/Haiti.cfm
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