Fighting Chronic Conditions
Access to healthcare is a major issue for many. Data from the United Nations showed that less than 40% of the population in Haiti has access to healthcare in certain areas and 50% lack access to basic medicine. A survey conducted by Doctors Without Borders revealed that 67% of the population does not have access to treatment even when there is a healthcare facility because of cost. There is a shortage of healthcare workers whom are mostly concentrated in the capital and in major cities. The public health expenditure is not enough to cover the health needs of the population. Our goal at FHHH is to bridge that gap and to take the care where it is most needed. Our research showed that chronic illnesses are often ignored and left untreated. The prevalence of diabetes is 4.8% in men and 8.9% in women. Hypertension is found in 48.7% of men, 46.5% of women, and as much as 69.1% in people over the age 45 years and older.
As such the first medical trip organized by FHHH was geared toward addressing these chronic conditions. Two of our founding members, Dr. Emmanuel St.Louis, a family practitioner and Dr. Thierry Duchatelier, a cardiologist, traveled to Carries at the invitation of our Haiti liaison Lynotte Joseph to conduct the first medical clinic sponsored by FHHH.
One of our founding principles is to provide not only quality primary care but to also bring access to specialty care to those who need it.
Dr. Duchatelier brought a portable echocardiogram machine and was able to perform the procedure on the patients who needed it. Both doctors were amazed at the frequency and degree of hypertension. They were able to provide patients with a three-month supply of medication for their blood pressure.
Our goal is to train our Haiti staff in the recognition and proper treatment of chronic illness as well as educating the population on disease prevention and management. Community outreach programs to ensure compliance with treatment and good follow up are a central aspect of our program as envisioned.