On January 12, 2010, Haiti was hit by the most powerful earthquake to strike the country in over 200 years. As a result, approximately 230,000 people were killed, and an estimated 300,000 were injured. Individuals suffered bone fractures, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, and peripheral nerve damage; and an estimated 4,000 amputations occurred. The effects of the earthquake added to the pre-earthquake estimate of 800,000 persons with disabilities already living in Haiti.
The majority of the Haitian population survives largely on subsistence agriculture. This makes people with disabilities unduly reliant on others for survival. People with disabilities, and the family members that support them, are often forced to migrate to urban centers in search of services, including basic health care and education. However, the earthquake decimated the services that had previously been available to people with disabilities; and earthquake relief efforts have struggled to integrate access to people with disabilities into program planning.
USAID has partnered with the Organization of American States (OAS) to reverse this trend. USAID and OAS have provided technical support to a series of joint initiatives by the Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities (SEIPH) and the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) to develop new approaches to inclusion, integration, and assistance for people with disabilities.
Working in partnership with this project, USAID aims to establish a permanent, collaborative, and institutionalized response to rehabilitation, inclusion, and assistance for people with disabilities.
- Promote the adoption of Haitian governmental policies and laws that fully integrate an inclusive approach to people with disabilities,
- Support the Government of Haiti in institutionalizing sustainable government processes, lines of authority, and programs that promote and enforce inclusive policies, and
- Raise awareness and foster government cooperation with civil society to promote government accountability and sustainability of the systems and policies adopted.
In May 2012, President Martelly signed an Inclusion of People with Disabilities Law. Other anticipated results include:
- Creation of an inter-governmental action group on disabilities to oversee all aspects of the project,
- Formation of a government policy outlining agency lines of authority and responsibility for policy development with regards to persons with disabilities,
- Support for the efforts in the elaboration of construction codes, including accessibility in the universal design, and
- Creation of a disability caucus in the Haitian Congress.
Additional Program Information
Budget: $2 million
Life of Project: November 2011– November 2014
Implementing Partner: Organization of American States
Last updated: September 11, 2013