Haiti reports some of the world’s worst health indicators, which continue to inhibit the country’s
development. While Haiti has struggled with poor health outcomes for generations, the health system
was further debilitated by the 2010 earthquake, which demolished 50 health centers, part of Haiti’s
primary teaching hospital, and the Ministry of Health. Only a few months later, Haiti’s health care
network was further strained by the country’s first cholera outbreak in a century. In the wake of
Hurricane Matthew, significant challenges remain to increase access to and utilization of improved water
and sanitation services that are key to improving health and well-being.

KEY CHALLENGES

A weak health system: Roughly 40 percent of the population lack access to essential health and
nutrition services; only 45 percent of all children (12-23 months) are fully vaccinated and 22 percent of
children under 5 years old are stunted.

Funding environment: Government spending for health is low and only represents 6 percent of all
government expenditure for the country. There is still heavy reliance on international funding to provide
Haitians access to health care services.

Human resources for health: Attracting and retaining qualified health professionals is a chronic
struggle, with as few as six health professionals per 10,000 people.

Health infrastructure: The destruction created by the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew
exacerbated an existing lack of adequate health infrastructure, such as health care and storage facilities,
as well as access to electricity, clean water and sanitation systems.

USAID STRATEGY & ACTIVITIES

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is heavily invested in meeting the
immediate health needs of Haitians today, while working with the Haitian government to build long-term
solutions to chronic health challenges affecting the nation. USAID’s robust health portfolio aims to both
improve access to quality health services and strengthen the health system nationwide. USAID health
programs are further bolstered by sizeable investments being made to rebuild Haiti’s health
infrastructure. With USAID assistance, the Haitian government is taking meaningful steps toward full
stewardship of its health sector. This includes the development and management of a sustainable system

Health services delivery: USAID support is increasing access to essential primary health care,
including nutrition, family planning, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis services, to underserved communities.
Currently, USAID supports 164 health facilities that provide access to these primary health care services
for a significant proportion of the population.

Health systems strengthening: To ensure sustainability of these investments, efforts are underway
to build needed leadership, managerial, and administrative skills within the Ministry of Health. These
leadership and management skills will improve oversight and allow the Government of Haiti to manage
health care assets more transparently and effectively.

Rebuilding public health infrastructure: Working alongside other international donors, USAID is
supporting the reconstruction of the General University Hospital (HUEH), which is Haiti’s primary
public tertiary and teaching hospital. USAID is also helping to construct a new pediatric ward at St.
Justinien Hospital in Cap-Haitien and reconstruct the National Campus of Health Sciences. To improve
infrastructure and accessibility for people with disabilities, USAID renovated nine schools and seven
hospitals.

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Contributing to improved health care services:

●  In 2016, 63 percent of children less than a year old who were treated through USG-supported
programs were fully vaccinated, compared to an average of 43 percent nationally.
●  In 2016, more than 80,000 adults and children were on treatment for HIV.
●  The rate of HIV transmission from mother to child decreased by more than half, from 9 percent in
2009 to 3.35 percent in 2016.

Strengthening the health system: USAID initiated a public financing management reform with the
Ministry of Health to begin government-to-government financing in the health sector. A pilot of resultsbased
financing is now underway in 29 USAID-supported facilities. With assistance from USAID, the
Ministry has published three annual National Health Account reports, which provide evidence to
monitor trends in health spending for all sectors – both public and private – to improve planning and
allocation of resources for future years and increase overall accountability.
Improved access to schools for students with disabilities: USAID retrofitted nine schools that
are now upgraded to be handicapped accessible in southeast and central Haiti.

Expanding the health workforce: USAID supported the training of 1,100 community health workers
who serve rural communities without access to nearby health services. A total of approximately 2,000
community health workers and educators provide health services and disseminate key health messages
in coordination with the 164 USAID-supported health facilities.

 

With thanks to USAID [source]