MEDICAL SCHOOLS One medical school in each Department of Haiti
One of the greatest gaps in Haiti’s educational system is access to medical school for the many Haitian young people who want to become doctors and help meet the need for competent doctors to serve Haiti’s population, especially pregnant women, children, the elderly, and the disabled. Over 75% of births in Haiti are not attended by skilled health staff; the maternal mortality ratio is 680 women of 100,000 live births. Approximately 46 of every thousand adolescents (ages 15-19) give birth. Fewer than 60% of Haiti’s youngest children receive basic immunizations (measles).
The general failure of the modern healthcare system in Haiti has been worsened by the phenomenon of medical brain drain which, in turn, is fuelled by both the political turmoil and the economic crisis. Over the last decades, large portions of skilled health workers fled Haiti in search of better employment opportunities in Western countries. Most of them migrated to Canada and United States. A study conducted by the World Bank in 2007 revealed that 83% of Haitian Medical Doctors live out of the country. This massive “exodus” has taken a heavy toll on the already under-funded and fragile health system in Haiti. Because medical school access is not available to most Haitian students, affluent young scholars enroll in medical schools in foreign countries, but rarely return to Haiti to help those who are still suffering without medical care. They may be afraid to come back and they no longer believe they have an important role in working together to improve health care for the people of Haiti.
In order to make a significant impact on health care, a medical school needs to be established in each of Haiti’s ten departments. Graduates of the medical schools are essential to staff the hospitals needed in each department and public health clinics to
serve each village, city, and urban area in Haiti.