Not much. That’s the shortest answer. Seriously, what have we done since the quake? What have we done with the billions of dollars of international aid? When you go through the streets of Port-au-Prince and Leogane, you can see the same disheveled buildings, empty pieces of land, tent cities, etc. as if the quake has just hit Haiti. Given the abundance of international aid unleashed toward us, we expected more. We expected shiny modern constructions replacing the demolished government buildings, health centers, hospitals, schools, colleges, and universities; skyscrapers rising from the ruins of downtown business headquarters; and quake-proof tenements sprouting like roses in the most stricken areas. We expected 24-hour electricity, safe tap water, underground sewage system, high-speed internet, etc. We expected a new Haiti, a fresh Haiti, and a modern Haiti. Instead, it’s the same old country, with the same issues.
In many seminars and conferences the experts have talked about the weakness of the government, resulting in a failed and inefficient state. We cannot expect a failed and destitute state to change a country. Change demands money and manpower. While the international donors can direct their aid more toward the government, all Haitians, particularly those employed, can contribute as well by paying taxes. The powerful and educated Haitian Diaspora has also a prominent role to play. Haven’t we known all this for years? Knowing what to do is not enough, we must do it, once and for all.
The Martelly-Conille government has brought a touch of energy and optimism to the country. They have promoted a sense of pride, as they interface with the International Community. They are pursuing many projects, both short-term and long-term. However, as far as a national health insurance program is concerned, mum’s the word. I salute the focus on education, but healthcare is also a human right. And so far, were not for the ONGs, our poorest countrymen would have nowhere to go for healthcare. It is, therefore, imperative, as we celebrate the second anniversary of the January 12th earthquake, to begin thinking about a national health insurance program for all in Haiti.