Progress toward rebuilding Haiti's health system
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Progress toward rebuilding Haiti's health system

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    On January 12, 2010, the world looked on as Haiti struggled with the aftermath of the massive 7 .0 magnitude earthquake that killed over 200,000, left millions in need of urgent medical attention, and devastated an already weak national infrastructure. More than 2,000,000 people became displaced when their homes were destroyed, creating increased risk for infectious diseases from overcrowding and poor living conditions as they gathered in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. The disaster triggered a response from nations around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was among the first U .S. government agencies to provide Haiti with assistance. Within days the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) was working with CDC’s Haiti office in Port-au-Prince for assistance, and CDC’s Emergency Operations Center was activated.

    A dedicated, multi-disciplinary team at CDC with diverse subject matter expertise mobilized and quickly began deploying to provide direct support on the ground in Haiti. In partnership with MSPP, they identified priority public health needs in Haiti and developed a plan for obtaining funding to address those needs. This group of CDC experts filled a unique niche which had not previously existed at CDC, public health systems reconstruction. Recognizing the value and utility of public health systems reconstruction in Haiti and other countries recovering from war, genocide, natural disasters, and other catastrophic events, CDC established the Health Systems Reconstruction Program (HSRP).

    The recently established HSRP leads CDC’s public health systems reconstruction efforts in Haiti as well as the response to the deadly cholera epidemic (stories on pages 14, 16, 17, and 20) which emerged just ten months after the earthquake. Together, with the government of Haiti and other international partners, CDC is helping make a lasting impact by rebuilding Haiti’s devastated public health infrastructure to be stronger than before.


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