During my visit to Haiti two years ago I had the privilege of visiting two hospitals: L’Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley and L’Hôpital Sainte-Thérèse in Hinche, Haiti. Many of the patients at both hospitals, I learned, walked or took public transport over long distances for quality hospital care. As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haitians need many more hospitals and health workers to care after their sick. There are currently only six health workers for every 10,000 Haitians according to USAID. And, Haiti has the highest rate of infant, child, and maternal mortality in the Western Hemisphere. Most Haitians live on less than $1 a day and their life expectancy is only 64 compared to 74 for its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.
Quality health care in Haiti continues to be one of the country’s greatest problems. In fact, Haiti only spends 6 percent of its expenditures on health care and relies heavily on international funding.
Continue reading Residents in Southern Haiti Receive New Access to Quality Health Care
As we sat with an expecting mothers’ group in Okhla slum in south Delhi with Save the Children India we learned that the government provides a countrywide incentive program for women to deliver their babies in a hospital as opposed to delivering at home. While monetary payment to give birth in an institution would help many poor Indian families particularly those who are migrant workers and slum dwellers it isn’t a foolproof way to entice expectant mothers into government hospitals.
Some still believe the traditional way of delivering at home with a midwife is far better than delivering in an institution. This goes back to a wide-held belief that many believe hospitals are intended solely for people who are sick and pregnancy isn’t seen as a sickness. Couple this with a healthcare system with great faults and many expectant Indian mothers opt for home deliveries despite the risk of losing their babies or even losing their own lives.
India, despite its soaring economic growth, spends less than 1% of its GDP on healthcare. In a country with 1.2 billion people this is certainly problematic especially as most healthcare is sought out at private clinics despite the high cost of services. Government run hospitals are in bad condition with routinely absentee doctors and a lack of medicines and medical supplies. Christopher Werth, an International Reporting fellow, recently reported for the BBC about India’s healthcare dilemma.