Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
January 8, 2011

Disease Prevention and Treatment in Haiti

The U.S. government is working to help prevent and treat disease in Haiti by providing sustainable health care solutions to help Haitians build a system that will improve their quality of life and lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable development.

Pre-Earthquake Healthcare in Haiti

  • Prior to the earthquake, Haiti’s health statistics were grim: 25 percent of children were malnourished;
  • An estimated 40 percent of the population had no access to basic health services;
  • Haiti had the highest rates of child mortality in the Americas, the highest rate of tuberculosis in the Western Hemisphere, and HIV/AIDS prevalence was at a 2.2 percent infection rate.

The earthquake exacerbated a difficult situation, and presented the Government of Haiti, the U.S. government, and the international community with new health challenges to overcome.

Disease Management through Prevention

Once the earthquake struck, the U.S. government moved quickly to help the Government of Haiti take the steps necessary to mitigate the spread of disease and improve the general health of Haitians.

  • Over one million people have been immunized against highly communicable diseases, including polio and diphtheria.
  • PEPFAR utilized its 109 sites across the country to provide both emergency and ongoing care in the aftermath of the earthquake.
  • Targeted food aid is being distributed to approximately 1.9 million of Haiti’s most food-insecure, including children under five, pregnant and lactating women, school children, orphans and vulnerable people in institutions.
  • To prevent malaria and other insect-borne diseases, USAID partners distributed 800,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to earthquake-affected Haitians.

Sanitation and hygiene are also essential elements to improving the long-term health situation in Haiti.

The U.S. government’s post-earthquake initiatives included installing latrines and water, sanitation and hygiene stations, as well as pre-positioning non-food relief commodities throughout Haiti.

We are working to educate Haitians on proper hygiene practices to limit the spread of disease, particularly now that cholera is present and presents a grave threat to the health of the country.