Living Dangerously


We're a few weeks away from the second anniversary of the January 10, 2010 earthquake. As far as healthcare is concerned, have we moved forward or backwards? Besides a modern hospital being built in Mirebalais, nothing has really changed. Some will cite dealing with the Cholera epidemics during the past year as the reason for such lack of progress. Yes, many resources dedicated to infrastructures have been shifting to the Cholera campaign. But the reality is there, begging for change. Patient, such as Yolene presented below, can't wait for long.
Yolene, a 36-year old woman, pregnant with her fifth child has been given a long list of prenatal lab tests to do. She looks at the script with sadness, knowing there's no way her partner would have money to pay for the tests. Six months later, when it comes the time for her to deliver her baby, she’d probably stay home, hoping for the best outcome. But if the baby turns or descends the wrong way or is huge, or if any other unforeseen complications occur, she may have to become part of the statistics on infant or maternal mortality.
There are thousands of Yolene in Haiti. For them each pregnancy is like a curse from the devil, on a financial standpoint. Who should pay for their prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal care? If they need a C-section, who should pick up the tab?
Henry has been living with Diabetes for almost a decade now. He drives a tap tap (re-arranged pickup truck where people seat on top of each other), when it’s available. The few gourdes (Haiti’s currency) that remain in his pocket, after paying for usage fees and fuel, can barely buy his medications (Glucophage and Glyburide) and food for his family of four. Many times he has to go without his meds or seeing a physician.
Thousands of Henry, living with chronic diseases, mostly Hypertension and Diabetes, face the same challenge: continuing care and daily medications. Who should help Henry pay for his medications?