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Actions we can take to help Haiti

Steve Shortell, dean emeritus, School of Public Health | February 12, 2010

We have all been deeply affected by the human suffering we have seen and heard about in reports about the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. With more than 200,000 people dead and countless more seriously injured, the extent of the devastation is unfathomable.

Public health must be at the forefront of the response to this event and its aftermath. In a country where the prevalence of infectious diseases was already high, the lack of food, water, and shelter will drastically increase the threats posed by diarrheal disease, malaria, dengue, measles, and other infections. With its already inadequate health care infrastructure now decimated, Haiti will need emergency teams in the short term and the rebuilding of its health care delivery system in the long term.

Looking at the enormous scale of this disaster, it would be easy to feel helpless—but there are actions we can take. This has been demonstrated admirably by Dr. Paul Farmer, UC Berkeley’s 2009 Public Health Hero, who proved that quality health care can be delivered in resource-poor settings. Dr. Farmer has been working in Haiti for the past 27 years helping treat infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS. The organization he founded, Partners in Health, has been the largest health care provider in rural Haiti. Now Partners in Health is supplying critical relief, including medication, supplies, and medical staff, to where it is needed most.

To donate to Partners in Health, or to sign up to receive news updates, go to http://www.standwithhaiti.org.

Please rest assured that we will remain alert to opportunities where the UC Berkeley School of Public Health can help out now and over the many years in future that it will take to rebuild in Haiti.

Comments to “Actions we can take to help Haiti

  1. Yes, unfortunately, it is the reality of 3rd world countries. Even Tuberculosis is a big problem in these countries though it is not a deadly disease. And it is much more dangerous and serious in the countries that have collapsed due to disasters, like Haiti.

    You can see how dangerous Tuberculosis and HIV together in the following. Effects of HIV on Tuberculosis and Tuberculosis and HIV.

    If you also search for ethnicity or 3rd world countries in the following link, you can see how deadly tuberculosis can be in these countries. TB Symptoms

  2. I agree with Omowale. The effects of our present day actions will only affect the generation yet unborn.

  3. I wish them the best and pray every night. I try to put myself in there shoes and the devastation all those wonderful people went through. I hope for the best

  4. Of course financial support would be the best. So please donate through your favorite organization. Remember these are human beings. Just think if you were in their shoes.

    Haitians are an orderly and organized people, even in a disaster. After all, nothing could possibly be more disastrous than over-throwing tyranny and slavery (1804), and then trying to establish a nation with the threat of imminent re-invasion by the deposed tyrants and their allies (1805-2010).

  5. There are ways to help Haiti that seem to be neglected. I think that governments need to think about PV panels and wind turbines to provide the remote and damaged areas in Haiti with electricity.

  6. Keep up the good work! Public health is such an important issue, no less than food distribution. A person needs to be healthy to benefit from food.

  7. I have read your article on Haiti and believe you have it pretty pinpointed of their needs but they also need to address the inadequacies of their basic needs to health and survival providing clean water getting adequqte electric to places in need clinics hospitals govt. bldg. to run a stable country through good communication and prpoper provision of life’s essentials to it’s people Please let me know who in Haiti is doing active work in re-construction of these needs I need to speak with them to set up monies to be used from a benefit we are currently setting up fo earl June here on Cape Cod Sincerely Michael Yeomans 774-212-2547

  8. what about Chile now ?
    I think the earth goes wrong.

    A strong aftershock struck Chile on Sunday, a day after a destructive 8.8-magnitude earthquake left hundreds of people dead and a long swath of the country in smoky rubble.

  9. It is amazing how quickly we forget. The mass media has moved on already. The US people are quickly forgetting and replacing those images from a few weeks back with the newest headline story images. Sad…

  10. The best thing that we can do is to keep Americans aware of this problem so that we can continue to support them. I am afraid that once this tragic becomes old news that it will be forgotten and support will diminish.

    Of course financial support would be the best. So please donate through your favorite organization. Remember these are human beings. Just think if you were in their shoes.

  11. 18 February, 2010

    An Addendum

    In case you missed the “Actions…” suggestion in the opening
    lines of my previous comment, “Push the President’s policy
    button” means mount a massive PR campaign of e-mails
    (www.whitehouse.gov) and telephone calls (202-456-1111),
    such that the system gets clogged enough to be shutdown.

    For those who are able, visits to the White House, editorials
    in your community, local and national press as well as via ‘friendly’
    electronic media need to push for the removal of troops — whom even
    Paul Farmer has said are not needed because they clog and do not
    facilitate, the movement of water, food, medical aid and shelter from the airport tarmac.

    The restoration of national sovereignty, decision-making, law,
    and economic justice, none of which the U.S.’s current Haitian policy
    is addressing, need to be primary…not the sham of false arguments
    about some mythical need for security. People need w-a-t-e-r, and
    protection from rain, floods and mud-slides (as of 17 February, FSRN
    94.1 FM radio, Berkeley/San Francisco).

    Thanks.

  12. 18 February, 2010

    Push the President’s policy button to get him to de-militarize Haiti so that
    aid, supplies, clean-up and Haitian-driven re-construction can proceed, not US-European re-construction and “transformation”.

    Haitians are an orderly and organized people, even in a disaster. After
    all, nothing could possibly be more disastrous than over-throwing tyranny
    and slavery (1804), and then trying to establish a nation with the threat
    of imminent re-invasion by the deposed tyrant/s and their allies (1805-2010).

    Then, again, now that the US Supreme Court has given corporations that
    same rights as “people”, not only is Haiti more imperiled than ever–notwithstanding the IMF/WB and International Development Bank 40-year destruction of that nation’s infrastructure and agri-economic markets long before the earthquake–so are those of us in the U.S. At least the Haitians
    are aware of their Public Health and Public Policy problems, but I seriously
    doubt that the U.S. population sees the parallels.

    Thank you.

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