241044 Impact of natural disasters on a health program for women and children: Lessons learned from Haiti

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 11:30 AM

Judy Lewis, MPhil , Department of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT
Bette Gebrian, BSN, MPH, PhD , Haitian Health Foundation, Jeremie, Haiti
Haiti suffered from 3 major natural disasters in the past year—an earthquake, a destructive tropical storm, and a cholera epidemic. These events affected the entire country. In the southwest area of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF), there was a 15% increase in population through migration from Port-au-Prince post earthquake. HHF has provided community based primary health care (CBPC) to a remote rural population since 1987. Maternal and child health (MCH) was affected in the following ways: a census was conducted to register migrants post-earthquake documenting an increase of 18,066 people; 29% of households took in migrants including 6048 women of reproductive age and 1499 children, needing new health cards and vaccinations; migrant children <5 were less malnourished than resident children; and, women were more likely than men to be unemployed post-migration. These communities are served by HHF community health workers (CHWs) who each cover 2000 people; the in-migration was the equivalent of 9 CHWs. There was a 20% increase in child pneumonia, a 4% decrease in child vaccinations, and an increase in prenatal care. HHF's CBPC was able to document the impact of in-migration post-earthquake based on its strong health information system. Since many migrants were returning, activation of old records prevented unnecessary revaccinations. HHF was faced with increased needs and no increases in staff. This meant fewer child vaccinations were completed because more children were sick. This CBPC program effectively mobilized for all three disasters, providing a model for other programs for sustainable relief, health care and development.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the impact of natural disasters on maternal and child health care 2. Explain factors contributing to migration in post-disaster areas 3. Evaluate the importance of a population based information system for adapting services in post-disaster situations

Keywords: Child Health, Maternal Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with the Haitian Health Foundation for the past 23 years. I have conducted extensive research and program on maternal and child health for over 35 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.