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Haiti is hampered by some of the world's worst health indicators. In order to overcome these challenges and strengthen the country's overall health care network, it is essential that the Government of Haiti improve its capacity to address public health issues. The U.S. Government, members of the international community, and private sector providers are committed to improving the country's health system in order to expand access to quality healthcare.
While many challenges still remain in the health sector, progress has been made. In July 2013, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), with support from the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), released the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). Despite significant health issues in Haiti related to the 2010 earthquake and cholera outbreak, a comparative analysis of the 2006 and 2012 DHS surveys revealed positive trends on key healthcare indicators, particularly those related to women and children. For example, the 2012 DHS showed that, between 2005-2006 and 2012 the proportion of children under five years of age with stunting decreased from 23.8 to 21.9 percent; wasting decreased from 9.1 to 5.1 percent; and underweight children decreased from 22.2 to 11.4 percent. The survey also revealed a net improvement in family planning related indicators. The total fertility decreased from four to 3.5 births per woman of reproductive age, and the modern contraceptive prevalence rate increased from 25 to 31 percent.
While this progress indicates that efforts to support and improve childhood nutrition and family planning services are having an impact, other health issues still persist. For example, while 90 percent of pregnant women received antenatal care from a skilled provider, only 36 percent delivered in a health facility. Additionally, only 45 percent of children 12-23 months of age were fully vaccinated, and the under-five mortality rate is high, at 88 for 1,000 live births.
U.S. Government Strategy
The U.S. Government, through USAID and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has been providing access to health services for approximately 50 percent of Haitians since before the 2010 earthquake. After the earthquake, the U.S. Government moved quickly to address new health needs, such as disability care and infectious disease outbreaks, while continuing to provide a basic package of health services, including maternal and child health, family planning, and immunization services, as well as the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases.
While the U.S. Government is currently providing a basic package of health services, strides are also being made to improve the MSPP’s capacity to take on a larger role in managing the country’s health care services. In June 2012, the U.S. Government and the Government of Haiti signed a five-year Health Partnership Framework to advance the Government of Haiti’s ownership and oversight of an adaptable public health system in Haiti and reduce its dependence on donor support over time. Since the launch of this framework, the Government of Haiti has made significant strides toward assuming primary responsibility for the management and performance monitoring of the overall health system, as well as providing increased financial support.
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Last updated: August 26, 2015