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Global Health

The Challenge

Haiti is hampered by some of the world’s worst health indicators. Several challenges faced by the Haitian health system and the government result in the inability and a lack of capacity to overcome numerous public health issues. The support and commitment of the international community, including the U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as private-sector providers, has increased the health systems ability to provide access to quality healthcare in Haiti. 
USAID supported the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) in conducting the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), and the final results were endorsed by the MSPP in July 2013. Despite significant health challenges 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. However, only 45 percent of children 12-23 months of age were fully vaccinated, and the under-5 mortality rate is high at 88 for 1,000 live births.
The 2012 DHS also revealed a net improvement in family planning related indicators. The total fertility decreased from 4 to 3.5 births per woman of reproductive age, and the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (MCPR) increased from 25 to 31 percent. While this progress indicates that efforts to support and improve family planning services are having an impact, Haiti’s MCPR remains one of the lowest of the Western Hemisphere. Furthermore, while 90 percent of pregnant women received antenatal care from a skilled provider, only 36 percent delivered in a health facility. 

USG Strategy

Prior to the devastating earthquake, the U.S Government, through USAID and the CDC, provided access to health services for approximately 50 percent of Haitians. 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, more sophisticated immunization services, and the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, as well as neglected tropical diseases. 
The U.S. Government is also making progress on rebuilding key health infrastructure that was destroyed. In June 2012, the U.S. Government and the Government of Haiti signed a five-year Health Partnership Framework that aims to advance the Government of Haiti’s ownership and oversight of an adaptable and self-correcting public health system in Haiti and reduce its dependence on donor support over time. Within the five-year period, it is expected that the Government of Haiti will make significant strides toward assuming primary responsibility for the management and performance monitoring of the overall health system as well as providing increased financial support. 


  • Supporting nearly 300 healthcare sites nationwide that provide access to healthcare to nearly 50 percent of the Haitian population.
  • Supported a national measles, rubella, and polio immunization campaign that reached over 90 percent coverage. 
  • Supported the introduction of the Pentavalent vaccine—a combination of five vaccines in one, including: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenza type b (the bacteria that causes meningitis, pneumonia, and otitis)—into the routine immunization schedule beginning in April 2012.
  • Supported the National AIDS Control Program to advance the goals of universal access to antiretroviral drugs for all eligible patients with HIV and elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. By September 2013, more than 70 percent of eligible persons were receiving HIV treatment.   
  • Administered two annual rounds of the medication needed to prevent lymphatic filariasis to 2.2 million Haitians living in Port-au-Prince (Elimination will likely require five annual treatment rounds).
  • Supported the expansion of diagnostic tests for tuberculosis, including the introduction of Gene Xpert—a new, rapid test that can confirm a diagnosis of Tuberculosis and also indicate drug resistance—and supported the national laboratory in establishing the capacity to perform culture and drug susceptibility testing.
  • Work with the National Laboratory to establish surveillance for causes of diarrhea, fever, and respiratory illness.
  • Deployed 264 CDC-trained municipal water technicians to monitor water quality in community water systems. 
  • Implemented rabies surveillance system linked with laboratory diagnostics in Carrefour and Petionville in Port au Prince. 
  • In close collaboration with the office of Haiti’s Secretary of State for the Reintegration of Persons with Disabilities, USAID issued sub-grants to ten Disabled People Organizations. One of these, I Love Haiti, organized a job fair attended by over 200 people with disabilities where about 50 were hired. 
  • Expanded disability care through four programs focused on rehabilitating and reintegrating persons with disabilities into society while building the capacity of governmental and non-governmental institutions to effectively support them in a sustainable manner. 
  • Initiated renovation and reconstruction of the University Hospital; opened the renovated emergency room in late 2012 and the renovated maternity ward in March 2013. 
  • Renovated health facilities in Cap Haitian, Quartier Morin, Caracol, Ouanaminthe, Saint Marc, Cabaret, Martissant, and Fort Liberte as well as the MSPP headquarters in Maisgate.
  • Finalized the design of the National Campus of Health Sciences, which was destroyed in the earthquake, in September 2013 and issued tenders for the construction work. 
  • Finalized the design work for the community reference hospital in St. Michele de l’Attalaye in November 2013. Tenders will be advertised in early 2014.  
  • Socially marketed water treatment tablets, oral rehydration salts, condoms, and other contraceptives, which are now available in 6,000 sales points nationwide.
  • Completed the Service Provision Assessment to provide the MSPP with a baseline of services provided and the quality level of service provision at all facilities across the country in October 2013.
  • Supported the MSPP on the FY 2010 - FY 2011 National Health Account (NHA) process, which was completed in August 2013. The NHA provides evidence to monitor trends in health spending for all sectors—both public and private. Support has also been initiated for the FY 2011 - FY 2012 NHA.

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Last updated: February 10, 2014

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