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Counterpart developing Haiti health response

As the international community attempts to
resolve the political conflicts affecting the creole Caribbean nation of
Haiti, an international development organisation is devising a strategy to
deliver urgently needed healthcare services to the most vulnerable members
of Haiti’s population.
Counterpart International, which offers options and access to tools for
sustained social, economic and environmental development in more than 60
countries, plans to transfer its skills to provide access to health
services, a central element of the plan for recovery. “We plan to increase
access to primary healthcare services through existing community-based
organisations on the island,” said Counterpart’s Director of Administration,
Arthur Lovelace, well known in the Haitian-American Diaspora.

Delivering medicines through an innovative “village pharmacy” programme
forms part of the strategy which includes strengthening administrative and
technical capacity of community-based organisations and government
departments. “We are developing a smart partnership approach to helping
Haiti,” said Lovelace, who reported that international development
organisations, private sector companies and members of the Haitian Diaspora
have expressed a keen interest in the effort.

Counterpart works with locally-based organisations to create and improve the
capacities of the local population. Programs involve local people in
planning and implementation, so that communities understand and appreciate
the health needs and act upon them.

Haiti, with a population of 8 million people, is the poorest and least
industrialized country in the Western Hemisphere. Its recent history has
been beset by political turmoil, and today, an estimated 65% of the
population live in extreme poverty and over 3.2 million people are without

“We need a long-term approach to boosting the health of the nation, guarding
the Haitian people against life-threatening and chronic health conditions,”
said Corliss Josephs-Conway, Counterpart’s manager for humanitarian
assistance.  Josephs-Conway, who is from the neighboring creole island of
Dominica, is encouraged by the interest and concern of potential
international development and private sector partners, including the Pan
American Health Organization, USAID, and Air Jamaica.