Is Haiti's health system any better?

Is Haiti's health system any better?

The role of national and international health workers after the 2010 earthquake in haiti

Whereas all disasters are a health issue with national health workers at the heart of every response, this report on the role of national and international health workers after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti signals a need to rethink how the humanitarian community works with national health system and stresses how a strong health system offers vital protection from disaster-related risks.

 Key findings of this report are:

  • when aid agencies flocked to help, few made use of local doctors and nurses and the extensive health facilities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.
  • all too often, incoming international medical teams worked independently of the Haitian health system.
  • having been at the forefront of saving lives in the initial aftermath, local health workers found themselves sidelined and undermined in the chaos.
  • not only were their skills not effectively used, national health workers also missed out on potential learning opportunities from the many international clinicians.
  • the sheer volume of aid agencies has inadvertently led to an in-country brain drain.
  • countless health workers have left their jobs for better paid positions with international NGOs, exacerbating the country’s chronic shortage of health workers.
  • finally, the already fragile health system has been left struggling to cope.

 In conclusion, the authors call on the international community to stop ‘take-over’ tendency and modernize their approach to disaster relief. This way, the unintended consequences of international good will shall be mitigated.

 

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