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The January 2010 earthquake increased the challenge of supporting people with disabilities. Not only were there more people with disabilities, many local disabled peoples organizations were severely impacted. However, the earthquake also brought increased international awareness to the many barriers to inclusion that existed prior to the earthquake.
Immediately following the earthquake, USAID funded the St. Boniface Spinal Cord Injury Center to 1) provide clinical and therapeutic rehabilitation services, long-term reintegration, and follow-up care services for up to 30 spinal cord injury patients; 2) provide professional training for 15 Haitian medical professionals; and 3) engage in local and national advocacy efforts. Twelve individuals benefiting from the program remain at the hospital, while another twelve have been successfully discharged back into their communities where their families have been trained to care for them.
Recognizing the earthquake as an opportunity to make long-term change for people with disabilities during the reconstruction process, we recently made four new awards to address four different aspects of inclusion and provision of better and more accessible care:
1. Strengthening of the Legal Framework for Disabilities in Haiti: We signed a three-year agreement with the Organizations of American States to provide technical assistance to the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs to build capacity in standard setting, accreditation, oversight, and coordination of rehabilitation and reintegration programs.
2. Strengthening the Voice of People with Disabilities: We are working with Christian Blind Mission to strengthen disabled person organizations (DPOs) so that they are able to influence the development and implementation of public policies, as well as promote the inclusion of people living with disabilities in all aspects of the reconstruction process.
3. Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Persons with Disabilities: We have funded Project Hope to support the Haitian government in developing an effective medical care system that provides a full range of services for persons with disabilities, including: corrective surgery, mobility devices (including prosthetics/orthotics and wheelchairs), physical/occupational therapy, and psychosocial support.
4. Specialist Training for Disabilities Technicians: We have partnered with Handicap International to develop a cadre of support staff that is equipped to handle the specific needs of disabled persons within Haiti. The program will train and integrate a Haitian staff of rehabilitation technicians, prosthetic and orthotic technicians, and physical/occupational therapists.
Last updated: January 13, 2017