Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere
and one of the poorest in the world. Per capita yearly
income is only $450 (World Bank, 2005). Its 8 million
inhabitants have the worst health status of all countries
in Latin America and the Caribbean. Life expectancy is
52 years, compared with 72 for other countries in the
area. Infant mortality rate is 74 out of 1000 live births
and almost 20% of all children under 5 are
malnourished. Haiti has the highest incidence of
HIV/AIDS outside sub-Saharan Africa.
Maternal mortality ratio is estimated at 680 per 100,000
live births and less than 25% of all births are attended
by skilled health workers (World Bank, 2004). One out
of every 29 women in Haiti will die from
pregnancy-related problems sometime during their
In a survey conducted in 2000 for the Pan American
Health Organization, 67% of the population was living in
poverty, 31% of the households had more than seven
members and 46% of families had only one room to
sleep in. Only half of the population has access to
clean water sources and less than a third have
sanitation facilities, such as latrines (World Bank, 2004).
|Copyright 2009 Friends for Health in Haiti, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Friends for Health in Haiti - U.S. Office - P.O. Box 122 - Pewaukee, WI 53072 (262) 227-9581
The Department of the Grand Anse encompasses the far western end of the Haitian peninsula. It is one of the most isolated departments of
the country, and travel within the department is limited by four large rivers that cross through it. During rainy season, these rivers make access
to the main government hospital in Jeremie impossible for many of the department’s residents. This government hospital, often understaffed
and ill-equipped, is the only tertiary care facility in the entire Grand Anse, responsible for a population of almost 700,000.
In a study done by Medecins du Monde in 2002 in the health section where Friends for Health in Haiti will be working, lack of primary health
care, illness from infectious diseases and parasites and malnutrition in children were among the five priority areas of need identified by
community leaders. The average walking distance to a health center is 3-8 hours, and some communities do not have any access to a first
level health center, such as a dispensary. Most of the roads in this area are accessible only with a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and some
communities can only be reached on foot. Distance and lack of financial means were the most commonly cited reasons for lack of utilization of
health care services. Acute respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea were the most common illnesses seen in these
communities, with diarrhea responsible for the most childhood deaths (Pan American Health Organization). Most deaths in the country as a
whole are caused by HIV/AIDS, followed by pneumonia and hypertension (WHO2006).
Friends for Health in Haiti, Inc. was founded in 2006 by Dr. Catherine (Katie) Wolf,
who was a missionary physician in Haiti from 1982-1987 and 1990-1994, working
in a large protestant mission hospital in south Haiti. She returned to the United
States in 1994 and practiced Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine in the
Milwaukee, Wisconsin area until recently. Haiti remained in her heart, however, and
through several Haitian friends and contacts, she decided to take on the challenge
of developing a primary care clinic and maternity center in a mountainous area
about an hour’s drive south of the city of Jeremie, on the northern coast of the
southern peninsula. She was joined in this effort by longtime friend Cherlie Severe,
who was born and raised in Jeremie and worked with Dr. Wolf for many years, both
in Haiti and in the US.
Friends for Health in Haiti is committed to improving the health and changing the
hearts of the people of Haiti, through compassionate, high-quality medical care,
provided to all, without regard to social status, religious practice or ability to pay, as
a means of demonstrating our faith in Christ and desire to serve as instruments of
healing in an extremely needy area of the world.
Our desire is to establish a community-based model of care, empowering local
communities to achieve better access to primary and preventive medical services,
engaging in active community education and using evidence-based, cost-effective
strategies to make wise use of limited resources, keeping administrative structures
simple, employing capable Haitian nationals wherever possible, with minimal
reliance on outside resources for long-term sustainability.
While we desire to treat all who come through our doors, we place a priority on
services which will have the greatest impact on the overall health of the area, and
those which discriminate against the most impoverished and vulnerable in society,
especially women and children. We desire to work collaboratively with the Haitian
Public Health Department and to help them in their efforts to strengthen local rural
health clinics as well as the government reference hospital in Jeremie.
• Actively demonstrate our faith in Christ, through excellence of care, compassion
and respect for all who come to us.
• Develop our medical facility using a community-based model of care, which is
empowering to the local communities and can be replicated elsewhere.
• Provide primary care and preventive services at the outpatient level, with
community education provided by all staff members during “teachable”
moments, as well as by means of structured community education programs.
• Provide emergency obstetric care to those with complications of pregnancy and delivery. Refer complicated cases to the reference
hospital in Jeremie and work to improve their capacity to care for these and other complicated cases.
• Maintain accurate records in order to effectively monitor and evaluate programs and services to determine our impact on the health
status of the communities around us.
• Act as a referral clinic and support for nearby rural community dispensaries and clinics. Engage local traditional healers in exchange
of information and education.
• Provide high quality care for all, without regard to ability to pay, religious, personal or political beliefs.
• Make the best use of available resources using evidence-based medical practice and cost-effective management principles, in order
to enhance long-term sustainability.
• Provide a compassionate, respectful training environment to students and health care workers from Haiti and other countries.
"...one of the most
of the country".
walking distance to a
health center is 3-8
|FRIENDS FOR HEALTH IN HAITI