Update on Our Partnership With Haiti on Health

Goosby Haiti

I recently returned from a visit to Haiti. As it recovers from last year’s earthquake, the nation continues to face immense challenges — as it has throughout its difficult history. There is much more work to do there in all sectors, including health. Yet I am encouraged by the resilience of the people, and proud of the difference that America’s partnership with Haiti is making.

A high point of this visit was spending time with Haiti’s new First Lady, Sophia Martelly. President Michel Martelly took office in May, and the First Lady conveyed the President’s determination to improve the government’s capacity to deliver health care. In all cases, strong political leadership is essential to build strong health systems. I see this high-level commitment from Haiti’s new leadership as a positive sign.

Investments through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have served as an indispensable foundation for the health sector response over the last 18 months. Since 2004, PEPFAR has established effective HIV/AIDS programs throughout Haiti, and these not only continued to function after the earthquake, but also served as a basis for the U.S. response. In light of the weakness of the public health sector, PEPFAR-supported sites made a vital contribution to saving lives from an array of health threats. In addition, when cholera broke out in late 2010, the service sites, laboratories, and commodities provided by PEPFAR were, in many cases, the difference between life and death.

Going forward, America will continue to strengthen our partnership with Haiti on health. U.S. health activities in Haiti are an example of President Obama’s Global Health Initiative in action. PEPFAR’s HIV/AIDS investments provide a platform for U.S. health programs implemented by USAID and CDC and other agencies to support the Haitian government in enabling access to health care for its citizens.

In this work, we are prioritizing health systems strengthening and infrastructure, seeking ultimately to move from providing health services directly to supporting the Haitian health system to meet the population’s needs.

The needs in Haiti remain great. Yet our partnership is strong, and we will continue to stand with the people of Haiti as we move together toward a hopeful future.


  1. Cynthia Anne Thompson says:

    As American’s First Ambassadore, Barack Obama, I trust his respect and dignity toward everyone/all those with whom he speaks. His language is encouraging in nature. His body language as the First Lady of Haiti, leans in toward her guest.
    So much genuine assistance is conveyed to the listener when Obama
    is present. This cannot be taught. It is this graciousness that conveys America’s support, concern, and UNITY around the World.
    Indigenous people everywhere realize the obvious difference between genuine and fake gestures. Haiti needs to see Americans care. Good article!

  2. Matt Burke says:

    This is great work! I was able to provide medical relief and systems analysis (for EHR capacity buidling) in Hopital Sacre Couer in May 2010. I’m now a clinical advisor for HHS but would love to continue to volunteer/assist in Haiti. Do you have suggestions about how to stay involved from your perspective?

    Many thanks!
    Matt Burke, MD

  3. Colette Jacques says:

    As the First Haitien Female to be the Founder of an AIDS Education Organization In the world since 1987 Awarded by the City of Los Angeles and the first to demonstrate how to use a condom properly on Haiti National Television and distributed millions during my prtesidencial campaign in 1990 In HAiti. I found it very bizarre that I was percecuted in my own community and forced out to leave the AIDS Education aside because people of different political view assured that I step aside and my life was in danger. Now that we have a new President in Haiti whom I support and would like to achieve great success. I am back full force in getting involve in the fight If there is any suggestion this New Government may need to help them educate the Haitan on HIV/AIDS that is if they do feel it is ok I will be more than Happy to help as apioneer and expert on the subject of AIDS Prevention I know fort a fact since I left there are hardly big noise on the education end of it although lots of millions have been giving on AIDS Education. My devotion to this will stay fo ever I am been a victim big time I night as well coninue until he end I look forward to participate in any conference to share some of my experiences with othet providers to assure a better way of life for my people whom I love dearly please feel free to contact me at
    Sincerely yours
    Colette Jacques
    Founder SOAP since 1987
    Support Org For AIDS Prevention

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