The Importance of Healthcare
The global landscape has changed drastically since HAS was founded nearly 60 years ago. Around the world, people are living longer and healthier lives. More children than ever are attending primary school. Maternal mortality has nearly halved over the last two decades. However, with 1.4 billion people living on $1.25 a day, poverty eradication remains the greatest global challenge facing the world today. There is much work to be done.
Investment in Health Saves Lives and Money.
Investments in the right health solutions can lead to a sustainable future with measurable impact, within a generation. Optimistic about the future, Bill Gates predicts that, “By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.” He argues that healthy people do more than merely survive. If children in Haiti are healthy, then they can focus on school, eventually pursue a career, and ultimately work toward a self-sustainable Haiti. At HAS, we believe that the economic health of Haiti depends first and foremost on the physical health of its greatest resource – its people.
“Health aid saves lives and allows children to develop mentally and physically, which will pay off within a generation. Studies show that these children become healthier adults who work more productively. If you’re arguing against that kind of aid, you’ve got to argue that saving lives doesn’t matter to economic growth, or that saving lives simply doesn’t matter.”
– Bill Gates, CoFounder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in the 2014 Gates Annual Letter titled “3 Myths that Block Progress for the Poor”
Why focus on health?
Health is rooted in everyday life. If children have to walk hours every day to fetch clean water, or become ill because they were never properly immunized, then they are most likely not attending school and bettering themselves. Studies have shown that if a mother dies, then her children are also less likely to survive. If a father is sick or disabled, then he is not able to generate an income and feed his family. At HAS, we eliminate barriers to health so that people can focus on what is important to them — learning, providing for their family, building a home and a future, and realizing their true potential.
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. It [poverty] is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
– Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner
Working together to promote a healthy future.
HAS partners with world-renowned healthcare organizations and researchers to inform and improve the practice of medicine in the developing world.
Our most generous funder, the Bundner Partnershaft of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (BPHASH), was founded in 1997 by a group of dedicated volunteers in Switzerland. BPHASH is able to harness the resources and expertise of healthcare providers and funders throughout Switzerland and the European Union. BPHASH actively supports the hospital’s most important core programs, including the pediatrics program, microbiology laboratory, and surgical services, including trauma care and anesthesiology. Each year, it sends volunteer specialists to work alongside and help to train their Haitian colleagues. Further, BPHASH believes in the importance of investing in new technologies and specialized knowledge, from funding ultrasound and diagnostic equipment, to helping to make possible the prosthetics lab at HAS, which became the largest and busiest prosthetics lab in the Caribbean in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Today, BPHASH is poised to lead a groundbreaking solar technology project, which will allow HAS to move from diesel power to green and cost-efficient solar technology.
“Partnerships between institutions in high-income and low-income countries should benefit the low-income partner most of all. Innovation is a two-way street and not one that flows from the rich to the less well off. We have much to learn from each other.”
– Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet
Health is inherently interdisciplinary. To appropriately address health issues, we must think beyond healthcare. Best practices may be based in science and clinical research, but we also need the help of other disciplines – educators, economists, journalists, policymakers – to bridge the gap between knowledge and implementation and to arrive at the appropriate solutions. Only together can we truly save lives and create a healthy, sustainable future.
Disease is not limited by geography.
“All of us are participants in globalization and enjoy global travel. We all must become more actively involved in global health issues by donating, advising and sharing responsibility.”
– Richard Ernst, 1991 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry
Global health plays an increasingly important role in global peace and security. With increased international travel and trade, the world is more globalized than ever. We live in a world where infectious diseases — even those resistant to common antibiotics — can spread across the world in less than 72 hours. It is now necessary to think about health in a global context. Through proactive and strategic steps, and with the help of donors who understand the resources needed for such efforts, HAS is responding to the challenges of illnesses, such as cholera and chikungunya, which have been recently introduced or re-introduced in our service area.