Providing Comprehensive Care
Widespread poverty, overcrowding, and poor sanitation make the spread of life-threatening diseases a constant threat in Haiti. Recently, HAS has battled new outbreaks of cholera, a deadly and highly contagious waterborne disease.
While cholera poses the latest new challenge, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS are still both significant public health issues in Haiti. HAS refers patients living with these conditions to nearby Ministry of Health (MSPP) facilities, yet the most complex cases remain at HAS for treatment of co-infections – at least 200 people per year. HAS has offered free care to patients with TB and/or HIV/AIDS for decades, crucial because more than half of our patient population is in the poorest wealth quartile of Haiti.
HAS also bears the great burden in its large service area of caring for gravely ill patients with AIDS, who often suffer from TB and other concurrent life-threatening conditions. In the summer of 2013, HAS’s medical director estimated that perhaps a quarter of patients admitted as inpatients at HAS are suffering from active AIDS. We also know some of the children treated by HAS are suffering from AIDS that was not diagnosed or treated early enough.
In addition to these life-threatening infectious diseases, HAS is seeing a growing incidence of other serious illnesses more common in the developed world, such as diabetes and heart disease, caused largely by the introduction of processed foods to local diets. This “double burden” of disease has stretched HAS resources such that the average hospital occupancy rate in 2013 was 101% compared to 92% in 2012.