Building Back Public Health Infrastructure in Haiti
A $3.2 million partnership creates two new public health buildings in Haiti, the Central Office of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and the Division of Epidemiology, Laboratory and Research (DELR), that will support the ongoing and important work of the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population.
I’m in the capital city of Port-au-Prince celebrating a milestone in the country’s recovery and rebuilding since the earthquake: the completion and opening of two new public health buildings.
Today is about more than the simple physicality of two structures. This event, the opening of the Central Office of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and the Division of Epidemiology, Laboratory and Research (DELR), will support the ongoing and important work of the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population.
Following the earthquake, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with many other government and aid organizations, partnered with Haiti’s MSPP to help rebuild and strengthen the country’s public health infrastructure. Haiti’s MSPP, working out of temporary and make-shift facilities, has made substantial progress:
- Twice as many pregnant women are tested each year for HIV than before the earthquake. Twice as many people with HIV are now on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment.
- The rate of cholera cases has been declining steadily — down 80% from 2010 to 2012.
- Millions of children were vaccinated against measles-rubella and polio during a national vaccine campaign in 2012. A pentavalent vaccine (a 5-in-1 shot against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, and Hib virus) was introduced last year, and vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal infection are planned.
- The country is on track to eliminate lymphatic filariasis — a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms — with 90% of Haitians now protected against the disabling and disfiguring disease.
Joining me to celebrate these accomplishments is U.S. Ambassador Pamela White, Dr. Florence Guillaume, Minister of Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC-Haiti Country Director John Vertefeuille, CDC Foundation Board Chair Gary Cohen, as well as representatives from our partner organizations whose donations made these new public health buildings a reality.
Being in Haiti and surrounded by public health colleagues and donors, I am reminded of how the earthquake united us and our sense of humanity, bringing us together to make this partnership possible. Our friends at the GE Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Proteus On-Demand and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) recognized the need for a comprehensive response to the earthquake and the need to rebuild public health infrastructure so that Haitians had the capacity to get back to work. I want to thank our donors for their vision and for their generous contributions.
CDC and the CDC Foundation are proud to show our solidarity and support of our Haitian colleagues. We are proud to support these buildings that have the potential to be catalysts for programs and partnerships that will save many thousands of lives. Reminders of the quake still remain throughout the country and forever in our memories; however, these buildings are markers of rebirth and offer reassurance that Haiti is building back and building back better.
Charles Stokes is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.