Five Years After Quake, Committed to Improving Health in Haiti

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Five years ago, people like you stepped up to help the millions of people affected by the most destructive earthquake in Haiti’s history, where Direct Relief and many others are still working to improve conditions for thousands of people left vulnerable.

Progress has been made. Lost amid the negative headlines are the ample stories of hope the Direct Relief team sees on the ground. Backed by the generosity of people like you, Direct Relief has transformed its immediate disaster response into a commitment to making quality health care viable for the long term in Haiti – a country where Direct Relief has worked for almost 50 years.

The response is now focused on the following three objectives:

Helping Underserved People Access Needed Medical Care

Direct Relief continues to be among the largest providers of medical material aid to Haiti by supporting 115 health facilities serving 4 million people throughout the country.

Since the 2010 earthquake, Direct Relief has sent 932 deliveries of medicines and medical supplies valued at more than $144 million to its network of on-the-ground health facilities treating the most underserved people in Haiti.

These deliveries support the efforts of large international organizations like Partners In Health as well as locally established organizations such as the Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital – the only free pediatric hospital in Haiti – and many more.

The ongoing medical support was heightened during subsequent emergencies such as the cholera outbreak and most recently, the spread of chikungunya virus throughout the region.

Repairing and Re-equipping Health Centers

Direct Relief helped restore damaged health centers throughout Haiti, with the majority of this work completed in the three years following the quake. For example, in Northern Haiti, Direct Relief worked with Haiti Hospital Appeal to fully equip their operating theater, allowing them to provide quality care to thousands of vulnerable women in the surrounding region.

Increasing Capacity and Building Resiliency

Direct Relief is working with partners in Haiti to strengthen resiliency among health systems addressing critical health issues and those reaching the most disadvantaged by supporting local training efforts, including:

  • Midwife training sessions at five birthing centers in Haiti in collaboration with Mother Health International

  • Training health workers to screen for cervical cancer in collaboration with Basic Health International and St. Luc’s Manitane Clinic

What’s Next?

  • Ongoing support of local partners – Direct Relief will continue providing requested medical aid to its local partners to ensure ongoing health services for people in need

  • Sustaining relationships with Haiti’s Department of Health – These relationships with health officials ensure local feedback and help guide efforts to plan and implement long-term solutions to strengthen resiliency.

  • Maintaining warehouse operations in Port-Au-Prince – Direct Relief’s in-country warehouse allows the supply chain management to be carried out locally, which enables the support of a large number of small clinics who would otherwise not be able to receive medical aid because of Haiti’s strict customs regulations.

  • Boosting local health worker capacity – Direct Relief continues to promote local capacity building by bolstering local partner efforts to scale health worker training in numerous specialties.

  • Continuing disaster preparedness initiatives – Each year at the beginning of hurricane season, Direct Relief sends preparedness modules containing enough medical supplies to treat 5,000 people for a month to partners in Haiti for immediate use following a storm or other emergency.

How You Can Help

People in Haiti need your support to keep building back better. Efforts in the country will continue to be a focus for Direct Relief’s ongoing work. Be a part of the commitment to long-term resiliency, make a donation here.

*Consistent with Direct Relief’s policy, 100 percent of contributions received for Haiti have been used in support of the efforts to strengthen health care systems in Haiti.

By Hannah Rael, Communications Associate on January 12, 2015