As the fifth anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude Haitian earthquake passed on January 12th, one would hope to see substantial recovery with new infrastructure, improved health conditions and more efficient governance. As a country of only 10 million, nearly 1.5 million or 15% of Haitians were displaced and homeless after the rubble settled five years ago.
For 50,000 Haitians and Dominicans, the pronunciation of the letter “r” was the difference between life and death.
Former president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, stepped down from his position on the 8th of February, 2016, leaving behind no successor. While his term was set to end in February, he left early amid tension in the government. Martelly has put his support behind Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter, while the opposition supports Jude Celestin. In the first round of elections, Moise won one third of the vote, while Celestin was close behind with one quarter of the vote.
Haiti is often characterized as the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere with the lowest health indicators. While one cannot deny where Haiti falls in terms of ranking as compared to other nations in the region, these rankings fail to speak about progress made and being made at the ground level that are increasing access to and the quality of the health services Haitians receive through the public health system.
Over the past 16 years, this progress has resulted in improvements to public health, such as: