In Haiti it is as difficult to see a physician as it is to meet with the Haitian president. This is primarily because of a lack of underlying health care infrastructure. You may be surprised to know that many Haitian physicians have trouble finding jobs in Haiti. One of the major goals of Haitian Vision Foundation is to provide health care infrastructure. Our goal is to build a medical clinic, and eventual hospital. This will not only provide healthcare to the local population, but jobs for physicians and nurses, as well as ancillary personnel. In addition the infrastructure once built provides capacity to respond to disasters such as the recent earthquakes and cholera epidemic.
In the town of Dondon with approximately 35,000 inhabitants there are only two small clinics with one part-time physician. Most pregnant women do not get any prenatal care, and are delivered at home by an untrained midwife. This leads to high maternal and infant mortality rates. In cases of emergency, it is an almost 2 hour trip on poor roads to Cap Haitien for emergency care.
According to US-AID:
- Roughly 40% of the population lack access to essential health and nutrition services;
- Only 45% of all children (12 to 23 months) are fully vaccinated and 22% of children under 5 years old are stunted in their growth.
- Public expenditure for health is low, representing only 10% of all health financing for the country with a heavy reliance on international funding.
- Attracting and retaining qualified health professionals is it chronic struggle, with as few as 4 health professionals per 10,000 people. The 2010 earthquake exacerbated an existing deficit of health infrastructure, such as storage facilities, clean water, sanitation and electric power.
In order to improve the availability of quality care, we at Haitian Vision Foundation plan to establish a permanent medical clinic and eventual hospital. This effort was recently given a big boost when the town authorities gave us title to 3 acres of land to build our clinic!