2012 in review…Perspectives for 2013

Each year end is always an occasion to look back and do an assessment. Health wise, what had happened in Haiti? Were Haitian patients better off in 2012 than in 2011? Had health care quality shown any improvement? Had clinics, health centers, and hospitals provided better care in 2012 than in 2011? These questions and many others are necessary to have a sense of where we have been in 2012 and where we are now, at the dawn of 2013.

1)      Preventive care: Grade F (failed) – Basic health screenings, such as mammograms, pap tests, and colonoscopies are still accessible only to a few.

2)      Primary care: Grade C (average) – Care is available but not affordable to all patients. Some patients look for places where they can get the best deal (free or very low cost care), which results in sketchy care. Relief or urgent care is still the norm (people seek care only when they are sick—preventive care is neglected).

3)      Tertiary care: Grade C- (less than average) – HUEH, the state university hospital, is under construction, barely. Some great news: The brand new teaching hospital in Mirebalais, the Bienfaisance Hospital in Pignon, and various urgent care centers throughout the country. Patients with complicated conditions, surgical diagnoses, or complex traumas still face an uphill battle to get affordable quality care. Hopefully, in 2013 HUEH will resume some of its services.

4)      Available specialties: Grade C- (less than average) -- The January 12 quake had sent abroad most of our specialists. Many of them are still out of the country. On the other side, few of our young graduates get the opportunity to pursue a specialization. In 2013, the Mirebalais teaching hospital will bring some relief to the lack of specialists.

5)      Health insurance program for the poor: F (failed)—so far, the government had said nothing about developing a health insurance program for the poor. Let’s hope that in 2013, government officials, senators, and deputies will begin talking about a state-sponsored universal health insurance in Haiti.

In conclusion, besides the bright spots, such as the Mirebalais teaching hospital, nothing major had occurred in 2012 in providing affordable quality care to Haitians.

At the Repheka clinics, we had provided medications free of charge throughout 2012. However, starting this January, we’ll ask for a co-pay of 10 gourdes—less than a quarter ($0.25) per medication filled. And of course, those who cannot really afford the co-pay will get their meds free of charge. Therefore, in 2013, our service will still be accessible to most of our patients.

In 2012 we have cared for over 20,000 patients. In 2013, we plan to provide affordable quality health care to even more patients and families. Therefore, please support our work in Haiti. To do so, please go to 

Thanks and Happy New Year!