Online Program

Examining the role of non-governmental organizations: A case study of humanitarian assistance in Haiti

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dominic Hosack, MPH, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine - Master of Public Health Program, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Cheryl 'Abeo' Jones, PhD, MPH, MBA, Master of Public Health Program, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
LeConte Dill, DrPH, MPH, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Background: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Haiti have devoted significant dollars ($550 million from the US alone) and resources towards humanitarian assistance to supplement the weak governing institutions and poor health statistics which affect the population. Despite these efforts, nearly 80% of the population lives in chronic poverty with a number of endemic infectious diseases such as cholera and HIV. Many global health professionals attribute this lack of sustainable health intervention to flaws inherent within the systems of humanitarian aid. Purpose: Synthesis the limitations of NGO activity in Haiti and create a conceptual framework for implementing future humanitarian assistance based upon specific factors relating to sustainability. Methods: Qualitative data from a multiple participant case study was collected and analyzed for common themes using a qualitative descriptive design. These themes were combined with the salient literature and participant-observation data recorded in Haiti to create a conceptual framework for future humanitarian assistance. Findings: Four themes emerged which focus on the beliefs and attitudes regarding current humanitarian assistance and NGO capacities: (i) NGOS and their Impact on the Quality of Life, (ii) Humanitarian Assistance and the Public Health Infrastructure, (iii) Methods of NGOs in Haiti & Cultural Competency, and (iv) Sustainability & the Use of Community Health Workers. Discussion: As evident by the case study, the literature review and the participant observation the need for sustainability and collaboration are key components for health improvement efforts in Haiti. Using this information, a conceptual framework is proposed which incorporates elements that promote sustainability and discourage dependency.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the practical approach of NGOs in Haiti Describe how the current humanitarian assistance practices promote dependency and discourage sustainability. Design a conceptual framework for future humanitarian assistance practices.

Keyword(s): Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator and primary data collector for all qualitative informational utilized in the study. I spent time in Haiti conducting a monitoring and evaluation project of several hospitals and rural health centers. My research interests and international experience along with epidemiology background enabled me synthesis the literature on NGO limitations and create a set of theoretical concepts to be consider for future international organizations attempting to intervene in Haiti.
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.