Hello again friends, today we will be talking about Haiti’s healthcare system with a slight focus on the 2010 earthquake that made many suffer. We will discuss how people managed to get through the massive natural disaster with the help of foreign aid. In, fact we will also see the negative effects this foreign aid brought for the locals.
One of the most recent catastrophe’s in Haiti was the 2010 earthquake. I know I definitely remember how heavily broadcasted the disaster was. The images were horrific, many died, many were left homeless, and many survived without their family members.
Richard Pallardy of Encyclopedia Britannica states in his article “Haiti Earthquake of 2010” that the earthquake consisted of several aftershocks that happened days after. The initial and strongest one was of 7.0 magnitude reaching as far as far as 15 miles followed by two aftershocks in the same day of 5.9 then 5.5. The last time Haiti was hit with an earthquake of such enormity was in the 18th century, and the closest one to this one was a 6.9 in 1984. The country was left in ruins mainly because of the lack of building codes. The cathedral and the national palace completely fell as well as the UN headquarters and the parliament building. Pallardy states, “The country was ill-equipped to deal with such a disaster”. Although citizens and international charities attempted to provide medical assistance, water and food Pallardy writes that they were slowed down by “the already unreliable electric power system”. In turn, communication was hindered, as was the movement of aid throughout the country.
James Wilentz of the New York Times discusses in his article “In Haiti, a Lesson for U.S. Health Care” about his time spent in Haiti one month after the monstrous earthquake. He spent time observing Haiti’s healthcare system after the assistance of foreign medical aid. He states that foreign aid was free, and the sudden availability of it “put enormous competitive pressure of the private local doctors who had already been working under difficult conditions” (Wilentz). The private doctors provided services that the public hospitals could not mainly, because they were not equipped with the technology. Wilentz says that those that needed immediate attention were treated first by the humanitarian aid, but days after the earthquake Haitians who had not received medical attention in a long time saw hope in foreign doctors.
The earthquake happened on January of 2010, later on in the same year, October to be specific Pallardy states that cases of cholera began to happen. This specific strand came from south Asia, it was the concluded that the outbreak began where the Nepalese peacekeeping forces stationed. The contaminated the Artibonite River, which happens to be the main water house in the island, by them, which carried the bacteria elsewhere.
Many organizations say that the United Nations should take responsibility for the outbreak. Ivan Watson and Joe Vaccarello of CNN wrote an article titled “U.N. sued for ‘bringing cholera to Haiti,’ causing outbreak that killed thousands”. Lawyers filed a class action lawsuit against the UN for gross negligence and misconduct on behalf of the victims of the cholera outbreak in 2010. The United Nations has denied responsibility and claims immunity under a 1946 convention, and in January of 2015, a judged dismissed the lawsuit.
Apart from the mayhem that happened in the country in 2010, USAID’s briefing of global health they state, “While many challenges still remain in the health sector, progress has been made. . . 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”. This means that the efforts to make progress in the country are making an impact, but other health issues persist.
“Global Health.” Global Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
Pallardy, Richard. “Haiti Earthquake of 2010.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
Watson, Ivan, and Joe Vaccarello. “U.N. Should Take Responsibilty for Haiti’s Cholera Woe.” CNN. Cable News Network, 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
Wilentz, James. “In Haiti, a Lesson for U.S. Health Care.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 July 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.