In addition to a lack of clean, potable water and poor sanitation, the lack of adequate health services has pushed Haiti to the bottom of the World Bank’s rankings of health indicators. Their ratio of physicians and nurses to the overall Haitian population is 2 & 1 per 8,000. An estimated 57% of Haitians do not receive proper immunizations and only one fourth of births are attended by a skilled health professional. Most rural areas are completely lacking of health care services, forcing individuals to travel many miles on foot to obtain medical treatment.
Northern Friends of Haiti is responding to this lack of medical services in the mountain upper valley area described previously, by partnering with local Haitian medical professionals to establish the following health care approaches:
1. A regular schedule of “traveling” medical clinics composed of Haitian and American medical personnel who provide medical attention on a consistent basis within reasonable distance of these rural communities.
2. The development of individual medical record forms that patients are required to bring with them in order to receive treatment, allowing medical professionals to track the health and illnesses of their various patients in order to provide accurate treatment.
3. The introduction of basic vaccinations once a dependable method of medical record keeping has been established.
4. The use of a medication “formulary” using drugs available in Haiti, allowing patients to obtain medications easily from local pharmacies.
5. Partnering with local communities and government agencies to develop and manage permanent medical clinics in hard to access rural areas.