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Modern Hospital

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Project #3   Healthcare

One modern hospital in each department of Haiti

HOSPITALS

Haiti’s healthcare system is dying, due to the shortage of health workers, and the lack of good infrastructures, medicines and other health supplies in many parts of the country, especially in the rural areas. Today, “most of Haitians have no access to modern healthcare, and the current system is desperately inefficient” acknowledged Dr Gaston Deslouches, Director of Health Services for the South-East region. According to him, the weakness of the Haitian healthcare system is at all levels, primary, secondary, and third.


Considered to be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, with about 80% of its population living below the poverty line, Haiti has suffered with a "dying" public health care system. A 2003 Red Cross study indicated there is fewer than 1 hospital bed for every 1000 patients throughout Haiti and only 209 surgical beds for the 6 million people living outside Port-au-Prince.


Only about 60% of Haiti's 8 million residents have access to any form of health care services, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Most people rely on public facilities where they must pay a minimal fee based on income and family size.


Most Haitians also lack clean drinking water, proper sewage systems and reliable electricity. The average life expectancy at birth is 50 years and the infant mortality rate is 79 per 1000 live births. The mortality rate among children under 5 is 123 per 1000 live births.


Poor sanitation and hygiene, coupled with inadequate nutrition, have contributed to a high incidence of physical challenges, ranging from congenital deformities and amputations to stroke-related paralysis and head and spinal cord injuries, but there's no way of knowing what the prevalence is precisely, because of the paucity of data.


The eighty percent of the Haitian population who live in abject poverty and bear the brunt of the burden of disease have little access to health care, especially in rural areas. The 2005 World Health Report estimated that the Haitian government spends only $2 per capita on health each year, accounting for about 40 percent of national expenditures on health. Since health insurance is not available or affordable for the vast majority of Haitians, households must pay for health care or go without. Almost three quarters of private sector spending on health care takes the form of out-of-pocket expenditures.


On paper, the Ministry of Health in Haiti (MSPP) is structured at the central and departmental levels, with a hospital in each department and a health center in every municipality. Because the health budget is low, this structure is not functional, and most of the “departmental” hospitals are run by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).


The need for hospitals and public health clinics is evident from all reports. Parents grieve the loss of their children, women die in childbirth, children and adults suffer with untreated conditions and disabilities, while the elderly in frail health are unable to find relief or treatment that would be commonly available in other countries.


HOSPITALS

Our goal is to establish a modern hospital in each department of Haiti, equipped with adequate doctors and other staff, equipment, medications, and supplies to address the unmet needs of Haiti’s people.  By restoring health and preventing illness, these hospitals will contribute to the unification and renewal of hope and faith for the country’s improvement.

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