News : Haiti

WELL- BEING IN HAITI, WHAT ALTERNATIVE?

Sister Immaculée Beldorin, Daughter of Wisdom, Haiti.

Alma-Ata, USSR,  was the host city for a 1978 international conference on Primary Health Care where the Alma Ata Declaration was adopted, marking a paradigm shift in global public health.

If in 1978, in Alma-Ata, USSR, there was talk about health for all, in Haiti today, we can speak of health for very few people.

What is well-being defined?
What is its level in Haiti?
Can an alternative to its culture be found?

In terms of being better, we mean the optimal state of health of people. Let us look at what is the mission of health services and their reality in Haiti.

Health indicators unfavorable

The mission of health services is to improve the state of health of populations, to protect against the financial cost of diseases and to treat them with dignity1. But in Haiti, our health care system is in crisis and dominated by the private sector. The capacity for regulation and supervision of the system by the State is very weak if not absent. The supply of care is fragmented and the majority of the population does not have access to it. Health indicators are highly unfavorable: high level of malnutrition, morbidity and mortality among infants, communicable diseases and so on…

What about living conditions?

As for living conditions, they influence negatively on health in 53%2 and deteriorate year by year: pollution, insalubrity, lack of privacy due to overcrowding, juvenile delinquency, prostitution, crime, violence, no availability of water at some places, low income for households and food insecurity. On the environmental front, there is further degradation. At the demographic level, the problems cause much concern. In less than twenty years, the population has gone from 6 to more than 10 million but production has not experienced the same rate of growth. No population policy is developed. 80% of the people live below the poverty line. The daily income is $ US 1 per person.

Considering this alarming picture we can say that all the conditions favorable to a culture of evil is combined in Haiti. On the other hand, can we find an alternative to the culture of well-being?

However, there is a way out. Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about Solidarity Economy. It is a powerful tool for social transformation, protection of the ecology, sustainable development and promotion of well-being. It is part of a comprehensive development process.

Solidarity Economy is an alternative for a culture of well-being in Haiti. As an example, let us mention the agricultural farm of “Savane Désolée” in Gonaïves, (Haiti), created in partnership with the international organization called “Mains Unies”. It was a desolate, abandoned space producing only brambles. Today, that place is full of life with all kinds of cultures: market gardening, food supplies, foodstuffs, hill lakes/reservoirs, breeding, etc. Moreover, wells were drilled from which the farm is irrigated and give drinking water to the population which already protects people from about 120 diseases related to non-drinkable water.

A pilot project

It is a pilot project for the practice of Solidarity Economy, a source of income for many families who work there. This initiative contributes to the rehabilitation and development of agriculture, job creation, increase of local products, care of malnourished children and improved health. In this regard, we conducted formation sessions on complementary production from local agricultural products against malnutrition at all ages, especially in pregnant women and young children. That will have an impact on malnutrition-related illnesses and also help maintain a normal state of health. The evidence is there and the beneficiaries rejoice and bear witness.

Building bridges

Don’t these initiatives and achievements open new paths? Build bridges for the coming of a culture of well-being for Haiti? And us, what will be our quota?

Jesus, Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, you the Worker who made all things, inspire us, guide us and give us the strength and the ability to invent, to act and to innovate. 

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