Google+ WTN Haiti Partnership: National Haitian American Health Alliance

Sunday, October 28, 2012

National Haitian American Health Alliance

Below is a summary from the 9th annual conference, held Oct 18-19 in Washington DC.  What struck me was the information about HIV:

HIV/AIDS was held as a success story in Haiti. It was announced that the rate in Haiti has been reduced to 1.9%. It was said that the infrastructure in HIV was instrumental in managing the cholera outbreak. There is a lot of progress reported in preventing and treating Cholera. The good news is that there is a timeline with important milestones for the eventual elimination of cholera in Haiti.

You can read the entire summary if you wish, included below.


National Haitian American Health Alliance(NHAHA)


Thank you to all those who participated in NHAHA’s 9th Annual conference in Washington DC. The conference was rich in content and great discussion. We were honored with the presence of Dr. Guirlene Raymond , Director General from the Ministry of Health (MSPP). The challenges are enormous but there has been a lot of effort towards the rebuilding of the Haiti health system’s infrastructure. The country is currently finalizing their 10-year plan and entering the Action plan phase. Notable strategies include the alignment of NGO’s into the plan, the restructuration and building of medical facilities throughout the country. Human resources and system strengthening will continue to be areas for continued need.
The conference facilitated cross fertilization of ideas from major stakeholders in Haitian Health. Dr. Eddis Charlotte, Coordinator of the Haiti Health Reconstruction for
U.S. Government provided the update and progress for the US government. She emphasized the commitment of the US government to accompany the Ministry of Health in its efforts as the leader of the system. The conference allowed different point of views. Dr. Marc Weisbrot leveled some criticism of the US government for their handling of the reconstruction and the cholera outbreak. He advocated for the US reparation to cholera victims and the rebuilding of the water, sanitation infrastructure in Haiti.
The case for water of sanitation as the first public health necessity for Haiti permeated throughout the conference. The role of food and nutrition was also emphasized, by Dr. June Pierre-Louis. Solving these basic needs will go far in preventing many health problems we see today and put Haiti on the road for the 21st century.
The need for research in Haitian health was well demonstrated by Dr. Linda Marc. There is a burgeoning development for great collaborative research work in Haitian health. She gave an overview NHAHA’s work and past and current work in HIV/AIDS and Mental Health that have been undertaken by Haitian researchers such as herself and provided a vision for new efforts in that area.
One of the most critical policy issues for Haiti health care was brought forth by Dr. Jesse Bump who presented us with the options for Universal health coverage. He provided an analysis of other countries and urges us to look into the Rwanda system as an example for Haiti. The message is that for Haiti, it will cost billions of dollars and requires the commitment of the leaders and contribution from the government and citizens to make it work. It can happen if as a whole the citizenry demands it.
The disparity in Haitian Health in the US was introduced by Dr. Paul Cadet, president of the Haitian Physicians Abroad. The root causes for health disparities in the US was analyzed by Dr. Vigilance. It showed the connection between social determinants and health of minorities. Dr. Fabienne Santel underscored the need to have minority groups represented in clinical trials. Dr. Patrick Richard, Health Economist made the case for health equity by showing the high cost of health disparities in the US. Mental Health emerged as an area of important need. Dr. Nicky Bellamy spoke on SAMHSA’s response after the earthquake which funded three programs in New York, Boston and Florida. Dr. Naturale specifically spoke on importance of a system in place for meeting the mental health need of children and women.
HIV/AIDS was held as a success story in Haiti. It was announced that the rate in Haiti has been reduced to 1.9%. It was said that the infrastructure in HIV was instrumental in managing the cholera outbreak. There is a lot of progress reported in preventing and treating Cholera. The good news is that there is a timeline with important milestones for the eventual elimination of cholera in Haiti.
Dr. Patrick Von Fricken talked about the work being done in Malaria control in Gressier and showed the picture of a testing lab that improves the identification and treatment of the disease.
The conference highlighted a great deal of NGO’s such as I-TECH in capacity building in support of MSPP. Dr. Rachel Labbe-Coq presented on an initiative for strengthening two of the hospitals in the country. Dr. Judy Art was applauded for his implementation of and inexpensive, easy Electronic Medical Records system at his clinic in Petite Riviere. He is able to remotely follow the clinic operation in real time while at the conference. Dr. Chierci shared an innovative approach of community health approach in “Au Borgne” in the mountainside in the North of Haiti. The program called: “Sante Nan Lakou” use the method of providing services to clusters of families living in their homes connected around a yard. It gave all of us a pause when the picture of the mobile clinic came up on the screen. It was a donkey climbing the mountain carrying medical supply.
The conference ended with Dr. Carmelle Belle-Fleur with the role of Nurses and an overview with a project with Hunter College for training Haitian Nurses in partnership with the school of Nursing in Haiti. Dr. Flore Lindor-Latortue from Florida, gave a motivating and captivating talk on the rights of Haitians for health equality. The last presentation by Dr. Marjorie Brennan brought all of us back to the Humanitarian reason for medical missions in Haiti but reminded us on how to do it effectively and respectfully.
Some major concerns on Housing, economic development, education as related to health were also raised.
We were hosted by Mr. Paul Altidor at the Haitian embassy at a closing reception. His address accentuated the recurring themes of the conference and the principles enunciated by MSPP that included sustainability, accountability, transparency, coordination and collaboration.
The year 2013 will be NHAHA’s 10th year anniversary. NHAHA’s goal continues to be a locus of information, a platform for exchanges, a voice for health equity policies and a bridge for the Haitian diaspora to contribute to the efforts in Haiti.


No comments:

Post a Comment