June 8th, 2010
Meeting of the Brazil–Cuba–Haiti Tripartite Commission
Specialists from the three nations meet to materialize the reconstruction of the Haitian Health System
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti. — Since Monday, and throughout the week, the Brazil-Cuba-Haiti Tripartite Commission is meeting in this capital. In the words of Igor Kipman, Brazilian ambassador in Havana, the alliance created after the devastating earthquake of January 12 to rebuild the Haitian health system is “the best example we can give the world of a successful cooperation between nations from the South.”
Before the beginning of the Commission’s works, Kipman told this newspaper: “We’re working together on the reconstruction of the Health System in two aspects. The first one is the training of professionals, and the second one is the construction of medical centers. Brazil, in a first stage, will participate in the construction and fitting out of four hospitals, to then reach ten.” Kipman pointed out that this is the largest cooperation project in the health sector in which Brazil has got involved, with a contribution of 80 million dollars.
The issue of the training of human resources was debated during the first day of sessions, which is one of the greatest problems the Haitian health system is facing, as admitted by Jean Hughes, president for Haiti in the Tripartite Commission, who explained that there’s a deficit of professionals. “According to the World Health Organization, some 25 specialists are needed to see a population of 10,000 people. In Haiti we have only 2.7 professionals per every 10,000 inhabitants.”
Hughes explained that most Haitian physicians work in Port-au-Prince, and that over 50% are general practitioners. He also pointed out that graduates from specialties like Orthopedics, Anaesthesiology or Otorhinolaryngology are almost nonexistent. During his exposition, he also acknowledged Cuba’s role in the training of Haitian doctors, which already exceeds 600.
With regard to the training of professionals, Dr. Clarisse Ferraz, heading the Brazilian delegation, explained that Haiti has trained doctors “for a curative health system; we haven’t had the time to train qualified teams for health promotion, for public health, for community health. And we have to change that situation, in order to reduce illnesses like tuberculosis, malaria, or the high indices of the infant mortality rate. Now, Haiti will also have Brazilian professionals in its universities.”
The members of the Commission acknowledged the work Cuba has been doing in Haiti for over ten years now and, consequently, Cuban Public Health Deputy Minister Lorenzo Somarraba ratified his country’s willingness “to continue working tirelessly so Haiti can have a strengthened Public Health System.” The Brazil-Cuba-Haiti Tripartite Commission, an example of the everlasting aid the latter is in urgent need of, is working under that precept.