This year, the United Nations announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intended to frame development priorities for the next 15 years. The SDGs represent a continuation and expansion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed upon by world leaders in 2001.
The work of HAS aligns closely with the number 1 Sustainable Development Goal – to eliminate poverty. According to a report to the UN presented by a coalition of leading economists from around the world, the single most effective investment one could make in reducing poverty is to improve public health. The report concluded that each dollar invested in health in poor countries can yield a return of $9 or greater.
Below we highlight other SDGs that HAS has been working toward for nearly 60 years.
For nearly 60 years, Hôpital Albert Schweitzer has been making strategic investments in improving public health in Haiti. Public health is widely recognized as the foundation of a healthy economy. People burdened with health problems cannot work or go to school, and the emphasis on equal access to healthcare at HAS means that the poorest residents of our service area have a 24/7 resource for medical care.
In the communities we serve, we screen more than 10,000 children every month for malnutrition, and teach parents and guardians how to combine foods and cook to ensure that their children are properly nourished. At the hospital, we treat children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition, helping them recover while educating their parents and guardians on healthy nutrition and best practices to keep their children well nourished.
HAS health education and primary care reaches some of the most remote mountain communities in Haiti. Through a network of 42 community health workers, HAS provides full immunizations for some 2,000 children annually; malnutrition screening for more than 10,000 children each month; prenatal and postnatal care; and reproductive health education and services. HAS also offers rare 24/7 hospital care for those with serious illness and injuries, and works to ensure equal access to care for all in the region we serve.
HAS is committed to empowering women to take control of their own health. HAS provides reproductive health education and services to women and adolescent girls, and provides prenatal and post-natal care. Public health education is provided to 9,800 community members monthly, 85 percent of whom are women. HAS also provides hospital-based maternity care for pregnant mothers.
In Haiti, about half the population lives without access to clean, safe water. HAS works with communities to drill, install, and maintain wells, with each well serving some 500 people. More than 120,000 of the 350,000 people in our service area now have access to safe drinking water because of these programs. HAS also builds sanitary latrine stations at schools and installs Biosand filters for household use.
HAS employs more than 500 people in Haiti, and offers professional development opportunities to its clinical staff, helping to train the next generation of Haitian healthcare professionals. HAS also manages an agroforestry program that trains local community members to grow trees and shade crops as a means of sustaining themselves.
HAS believes in equal access to healthcare, and offers care and treatment to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay. In Haiti, 50 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day.