“Travay pa janm fini,” I said to Dr. Jean Géto Dubé, the executive director at Justinien University Hospital, as we were discussing our plans for the upcoming year. In English, that Haitian Creole statement loosely translates to, “Work never ends.” He nodded in agreement.
As we begin a new year with challenges similar to the ones we experienced last year, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to remain vigilant for any new challenges that may come our way. As always, Konbit Sante is committed to continuing the work on the ground with our healthcare partners in 2021.
According to the World Bank, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and according to the Human Capital Index, children born today in Haiti will grow up to be only 45% as productive as they could be if they obtained complete health care. Latest estimates suggest that over 6 million Haitians live below the poverty line of U.S. $2.41 per day, and more than 2.5 million fall below the extreme poverty line of U.S. $1.12 per day. Over the years, the poverty gap between the urban and rural areas has increased significantly.
The World Health Organization indicates that only 40% to 60% of Haitians receive healthcare services. Almost 40% of them rely on traditional medicine, especially in rural areas. Due to the ongoing political and social challenges in the country, there has been no recent progress in the public healthcare system in Haiti. The Ministry of Public Health and Population continues to face challenges in terms of inadequate funding and programmatic leadership.
In Haiti, it is crucial to ensure that local community healthcare champions are identified and supported so that they can continue to work within their communities and support their people. At Konbit Sante, we have several such champions with whom we closely work. Those champions are embedded in our four healthcare partner facilities: Justinien University Hospital, Fort Saint Michel Health Center, Unite de Lutte pour la Sante Health Center, and Haitian Baptist Convention Hospital. They range in profession from being directors and managers who run the healthcare facilities to clinicians who provide care to laboratory technologists who conduct tests.
These champions are the true leaders of the healthcare systems in their communities, as they provide services to not just their families but to those who need it the most. They are the ones who are most aware of the challenges within the larger health system; hence, they are the ones who are able to develop solutions internally and address those challenges.
I welcome each of you to join me this year by providing support to these champions. You may contribute in more than one way—by donating financially, volunteering, or spreading the word about Konbit Sante.
I hope that each of you and your families have a wonderful year. Thank you for your continued interest in Konbit Sante.