Lauren as 55 per 1000 births, while the United

Lauren
Phoenix, Jeremy Sheehy,

Scott
Zuefle and Alex Tripodis

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Perspectives
of Global Health

21 January 2018

Hygiene in Haiti

From health statistics to
economic factors, Haiti is a small country located in the Western Hemisphere
that is known to be the poorest country in the Americans and one of the poorest
in the world.1 Geographically, Haiti is smaller than the U.S. state,
Maryland, with approximately 10 million people living there.2,3 From
natural disasters to poverty, there have been many challenges that have been
brought upon this country. In order to adequately address concerns of Haiti, it
is necessary to discuss current health statistics, as well as the healthcare
system and education that one may encounter by visiting Haiti. By understanding
the countries health statistics, we will be able to focus on the improvement of
hygiene. Thus, our goal is to specifically be able to impact the lives of those
who currently live in Haiti by making improvements to their hygiene and overall
health.

            The country of
Haiti has many detrimental health statistics that must be taken into
consideration. First, the life expectancy from birth based from 2015 statistics
is 62 years old for males and 66 years old for females.3 This is
approximately a 15 year decline in life expectancy compared to the United
States.4 In addition, the infant mortality in 2015 has been
documented as 55 per 1000 births, while the United States infant mortality in
2017 is approximately 6 per 1000 births.5,6 On the other hand,
nutrition is a major aspect that contributes to one’s health. Specifically, 50%
of people in Haiti are undernourished, which is nearly 5 million people.7
Poverty within Haiti has had a major impact not only on the health, but also
the economy as a whole. Nevertheless, there are a numerous amount of health
statistics that have negatively impacted Haiti; however, natural disasters are
another factor that has impacted the health of individuals who live in Haiti.

             It is difficult to discuss the current
situation in Haiti without stating the January 2010 earthquake that has
affected 3 million people and has taken the lives of 230,000 people. In the
past, Haiti has struggled with poor health outcomes for generations and this
was further debilitated from the earthquake that broke the country. One of the
major problems is the weak health system, according to the U.S government,
about 40 % of the population lacks access to basic and essential healthcare and
about only 45% of children in the country are fully vaccinated. Another major
problem is the availability for services. In the country, there is not a lot of
health professionals to help better the health of Haiti. “Attracting and
retaining qualified health professionals is a chronic struggle, with as few as
six health professionals per 10,000 people.”9 Haiti is the poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere on the globe and that is a major flaw in
trying to improve the healthcare system. Haiti has very little funding for the
environment and they are still are dependent on international funding to
provide the citizens access to healthcare. Another challenge that is still
being faced is the overall health infrastructure of Haiti. After all the
destruction the earthquake has caused, many existing health care and storage
facilities have been destroyed. The poor hygiene in Haiti has been affecting
the healthcare system drastically. “Access to safe water, adequate sanitation,
and education about proper hygiene can reduce illness and death from disease”.8
The world health organization stated that after the earthquake that about 69%
of the Haitians had access to clean water. The lack of access of clean water
has subdued the process of help curing diseases and maintaining adequate health
in the country.

            Access to clean
water and good hygiene should not be a privilege but rather a right for every
human that roams our planet. So much time has passed and there are so many
citizens that do not have adequate access to clean water and supplies to
maintain good hygiene and health.  “The role of safe water in public
health programs is often taken for granted. Interventions such as those for
HIV, TB, and lymphatic filariasis (LF) rely on administering oral medication
with a swallow of water. If that water is contaminated, it could lead to
infections that further complicate those conditions.”8 Something
that we take for granted such as access to clean water can help so many people
in Haiti in so many areas.

            From the above
information it is apparent that there are ample opportunities for health care
education and intervention in Haiti.  In regards to hygiene specifically
there are plenty of education points that could increase the quality of life of
the citizens of Haiti.  Due to the poor state of the healthcare system,
prevention of disease is a key point in this country.  Hygiene plays a
integral role in the prevention of a large number of diseases.  One aspect
of hygiene is the cleanliness of the water being consumed.  People could
be educated on the harmful effects of consuming dirty water, but more importantly
on ways to sterilize the water they wish to consume.  The people of Haiti
could also be educated on precautions to take around those who are sick in
order to prevent contracting the disease from the infected person, assuming the
disease in question is communicable.  This could include wearing some type
of a makeshift mask so they do not breathe in germs the infected person may be
expelling. Education could also be directed at how a person should act when
they themselves are sick.  In this case people could be educated to avoid
unnecessary contact with other people in order to decrease their risk of
spreading the disease to another person.  All in all there are many
subjects that could be brought up and taught to the people of Haiti in order to
improve their quality of life.  

            The 10 million
Haitians are living in a country that cannot provide them adequate health care
and basic natural resources. Every person, regardless of race deserves the
right to clean water and basic hygiene. Improving hygiene in Haiti will
ultimately raise the quality of life for its people. Haiti requires
international intervention in order to raise the standard of living. That is
why our group hopes to develop a grant that will enable us to help the people
of Haiti. We have the power, knowledge, and supplies to educate and provide
resources to promote better hygiene in Haiti.

References:

 

The
World Bank in Haiti. World Bank Group. 2018. Accessed on 29 January
2018. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/haiti/overview
Haiti
Facts: The Basics. HaitiHub. 2018. Accessed on 29 January 2018.
Available at: https://haitihub.com/haiti-facts/
Haiti.
World Health Organization. 2018. Accessed on 29 January 2018.
Available at: http://www.who.int/countries/hti/en/
United
States of America. World Health Organization. 2018. Accessed on 29
January 2018. Available at: http://www.who.int/countries/usa/en/
Haiti
Statistics: Haiti by the Numbers. Haiti Partners. 2014-2017.
Accessed on 29 January 2018. Available at: https://haitipartners.org/haiti-statistics/
Country
Comparison: Infant Mortality Rate.  Central Intelligence Agency.
2017. Accessed on 29 January 2018. Available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html
Haiti.
World Food Programme. 2017. Accessed on 29 January 2018. Available
at: http://www1.wfp.org/countries/haiti
Progress
Towards Rebuilding Haiti’s Health System. Centers for Disease Control
and Progression. November 2013. Accessed on 29 January 2018. Available
at: https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/errb/pdf/progresstowardrebuildinghaitishealthsystem.pdf
Health. United States Agency
for International Development. 25 January 2018. Accessed on 29 January
2018. Available at: https://www.usaid.gov/haiti/global-health