The misery of the Haitian health system existed even before the 2010 earthquake, but was significantly exacerbated by this natural disaster. Almost all health centers and hospitals were damaged by the earthquake – some of the damage has not yet been repaired. As a result, the state system is hopelessly overwhelmed by the fight against the most pressing health problems, especially the fight against the cholera epidemic and AIDS.
Treatment in state hospitals is in principle free of charge, but the cost of the medication required must be borne by the patient. Since there is no general health insurance, the majority of the population can usually not afford the necessary funds for medication and is de facto cut off from medical care. In addition, the state hospitals are usually hopelessly overcrowded, so that treatment is often only possible after a long waiting period or not at all.
Also the health care is highly centralized and the larger cities – concentrates – particularly Port-au-Prince.
Overall, there is a severe shortage of doctors. Doctors who were trained in Haiti have to complete two years of compulsory education in the state health system after completing their studies, but afterwards many of them move abroad because of the better income opportunities.
According to weddinginfashion, Haiti is a country located in Caribbean sea.The gap in medical care is being filled by a number of foreign organizations that have taken care of the poorer sections of the population well before the earthquake.
After the first two Covid 19 cases were confirmed in Haiti, President Moise declared a state of emergency on March 19, 2020 for an initial month. As a result, the border with the Dominican Republic was closed to passenger traffic and air traffic ceased. In addition, schools and universities were closed, and industrial parks and religious institutions temporarily ceased operations. In addition, a curfew was imposed for the period from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Although the population was informed about the necessary hygiene measures and distance rules, hardly anyone adhered to these rules.
The already precarious economic situation in the country intensified as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, as tourism can come to a standstill, foreign transfers – especially from the USA – sometimes ceased and job opportunities in the Dominican Republic ceased to exist. Against this background and because of the lack of sanitary facilities, hygiene and social distancing are difficult to achieve.
The disease is also stigmatized in Haiti, so that infected people fear that their neighbors will kill them if they find out about the infection. That is why the disease is hidden or, out of fear of a positive result, many people do not get tested if they suspect the disease. Although President Moise condemned the violence given to infected people and attacks on health facilities, attacks on facilities that treat Covid-19 infected people continue.
Although the infection rate appears relatively low, medical professionals warn that the numbers published do not reflect the true extent of the spread, as little is tested and there are few laboratories across the country that can interpret the test results.
According to the findings of Doctors Without Borders, Covid-19 is spreading alarmingly quickly in Haiti and poses unsolvable tasks for Haiti’s already deficient healthcare system. There is a lack of material at all levels; probably only 20 functioning ventilators are available for the entire country. In addition, there is a lack of qualified medical personnel.
On April 15, the government declared victory over the pandemic and allowed the textile industry, which employs 60,000 people, to open up. It is feared that the easing will lead to an uncontrollable infection process, which would mean a disaster for the country.
The cholera outbreak in Haiti, confirmed by the government on October 21, 2010, poses a major challenge for the health system. The first cases occurred near the town of Mirebalais in the Artibonite Delta, but the disease quickly spread along the coast and the main thoroughfare southwards, reaching Port-au-Prince in November 2010. According to the UN, 4,500 deaths and 300,000 cases of illness were recorded in May 2011. The fact that more than 800,000 people are still living in makeshift shelters after the earthquake has helped the disease spread. The cause of the outbreak is the inadequate sanitary facilities in a camp of Nepalese MINUSTAH soldiers seen in the Artibonite. It was not until August 2016 that an internal UN paper recognized MINUSTAH’s responsibility for the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti. The interim president of Haiti, Jocelerme Privert, was then called on to demand financial compensation for those affected.