Celebrating Health Progress in Haiti

Celebrating Health Progress in Haiti

 {Photo credit: Dominic Chavez}Brissault Eunise (seated) watching over her daughter Kerwencia, after receiving breast feeding classes.Photo credit: Dominic Chavez

This post is part of MSH's Global Health Impact Blog series, Improving Health in Haiti: Remember, Rebuild.

As January 12, 2015 marked the fifth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and its partner organizations, including the Leadership, Management & Governance Project/Haiti, brought together Haitian and US government officials and key global health stakeholders for two days of meetings and events highlighting health progresses made in Haiti since 2010.

Update, April 14, 2015:

Watch video recordings of the summit

Original post continues:

Haitian health leaders meet on Capitol Hill

The two days kicked off on Wednesday, January 28 with the Haitian Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Florence Duperval Guillaume, and General Coordinator for the Office of Management and Human Resources in the Office of the Prime Minister, Uder Antoine, meeting with five key members of the US Congress. Both Minister Guillaume and Mr. Antoine were leaders of the MSH/Haiti team and now lead the health and human resources management efforts in the Haitian government. They met with US Senator Bill Nelson (FL), and US Representatives Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Jim McGovern (MA-2), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24) to discuss health achievements, remaining challenges, and goals for the future.

Due to the recent political turmoil in Haiti, the Members of Congress also asked about the government shakeup and Haiti’s upcoming elections.

After a day filled with Capitol Hill meetings, Minister Guillaume and Mr. Antoine joined MSH staff, US Agency for International Development (USAID) and USAID/Haiti staff, and partner organization representatives for a dinner in Washington, DC. The dinner celebrated Haiti’s progress five years later and brought together senior US and Haitian stakeholders. A major highlight included Haitian advocate and celebrity chef Jose Andrés meeting with the group.

Health in Haiti Policy Summit: Highlights

Thursday, January 29 saw the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC filled with guests attending the 5 Years After the Earthquake: Moving Forward for a Healthy Haiti policy summit. This one-day policy summit brought together representatives from all health sectors for a day of engaging and enriching discussions on the impact of US health investments in Haiti. During the summit, moderators led panels and "Q&A" sessions on topics such as health financing and the next steps for Haiti. A special lunch panel was held featuring the Congressional staffers who went on MSH’s recent study tour to Haiti.

Results-based financing (RBF) was a reoccurring topic. Olivier Inginda of MSH/Haiti stated that the RBF team is promoting transparency of the Government of Haiti (GOH). Mr. Antoine said RBF is essential to improve health systems management. A USAID/Haiti official later added that building the GOH’s capacity to provide citizens with quality healthcare is their long-term goal.

Maternal health was also highlighted as an issue deserving attention, as Minister Guillaume emphasized:

A woman should not lose her life when giving life.

Actor, advocate, and Ambassador-at-Large for Haiti, Jimmy Jean-Louis closed the event, offering personal remarks and stories which demonstrated the importance of strengthening Haiti’s health system. While the summit discussed the challenges that remain and areas that can still be improved upon, it helped change the narrative that often surrounds Haiti’s development.

The day’s discussions emphasized the health successes that have been seen in Haiti five years later and the strong local leadership at the helm of health in Haiti.

For 35 years now, MSH has been working in Haiti and continues to aid in the nation’s recovery and development efforts.

Read: MSH in Haiti: Thirty-Five Years of Progress

Reception Celebrates Culture, Collaboration & Future of Health in Haiti

[Guillaume (right) and MSH staff Inginda (center), and Olivier Raynaud (left) at the reception.] {Photo credit: Esther Labonthe/MSH}Guillaume (right) and MSH staff Inginda (center), and Olivier Raynaud (left) at the reception.Photo credit: Esther Labonthe/MSH

Following the summit, MSH hosted "Experiencing Haiti: A celebration of culture, collaboration & the future of health in Haiti", a reception celebrating Haitian culture, food, art, and music at the Phoenix Park Hotel. Guests enjoyed the evening as they drank and ate Haitian cuisine, listened to a live performance from Dener Ceide, one of Haiti’s prominent kompas musicians, and viewed beautiful artwork on loan from Gaël Monnin and Galerie Monnin.

The Embassy of Haiti was integral in the reception’s success, and during his opening remarks, Haitian Ambassador to the US, Paul Altidor commended MSH for its willingness to encourage local ownership and stressed that Haitians must take the lead in development partnerships.

After exchanging knowledge and celebrating health progress, individuals and partners left with a renewed commitment to ensure a healthy future for Haiti.

View photos from the congressional visit, policy summit, and reception on Facebook

Editor's note: Below are more photos and a sampling of social media coverage of the events. Join and continue the conversation online with hashtag #HealthinHaiti.

Learn more

Management Sciences for Health in Haiti: Thirty-Five Years of Progress

Improving Health in Haiti: Remember, Rebuild blog series