The Conditions of Health in Haiti
For generations there has been a health care void in Haiti. This void of effective and natural health care has left an open door for shamanism, mysticism and even voodoo practices that feed on a lack of education and fear. This mystical focus has colored the culture of Haiti causing divisiveness in local communities and families and obstacles to healing and good health practices.
Currently it is all too common in Haiti for someone that holds a grudge or has a dispute with someone to use the occasion of an illness as evidence of a curse being placed on that person. This then encourages the effected individual to look for solutions from a local shaman or witch doctor to remove a curse rather than understand and treat the natural causes of an illness. This mysticism becomes a cultural obstacle to overcome on the path to healing.
Any health related solution will have to be founded in good natural science and common sense based behavioral changes. These messages are going to be received better from a local member of a community rather than a visiting doctor from another country.
Because the remote areas of Haiti have the most obstacles to quality health care solutions, we decided to focus our first major health initiative in Belle Anse and the surrounding townships. A relationship with Homeopaths Without Borders was forged and an agreement to conduct a training program to empower local individuals with education, tools and an international certification called Homeopathic Communitaires.
As to the need for a clinic, we went to Haiti this time with the assumption that we would have to find a way to create the support and revenue to build a clinic. What we learned is that the government of Haiti is mobilizing to address some of the chronic health conditions that are directly related to the accelerating problems stemming from the 2010 earthquake, such as cholera. Aid from international sources is being mobilized by the government and there are plans for a new clinic. This is good news for Belle Anse and the surrounding areas, and better news for us…because we believe it would have taken us much longer to build a clinic. Instead we can focus our efforts on continuing to build capacity.