Issue No. 01 [2010]
PAHO, Catalyst for Health in the Americas. Health: Our Most Basic Asset.
January 15, 2010


Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean offer an outpouring of support

PAHO/WHO Coordinating Regional Efforts to Assist Haiti after Earthquake
Washington, DC. January 14, 2010.

- The Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is coordinating the mobilization of efforts to help health authorities in Haiti meet the basic health needs of their people in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake, through its country offices. All the countries in the Region have responded with great solidarity.

Dr. Mirta Roses, PAHO Director, convened a regional virtual meeting this morning linking all PAHO/WHO Representatives in Latin America and the Caribbean to exchange information on actions taken by PAHO/WHO Member States in the region in response to the earthquake. Dr. Roses in turn provided updated information on the situation in Haiti and emphasized the importance of a coordinated response to ensure more efficient and effective delivery of disaster assistance.

PAHO is coordinating and facilitating the mobilization of health experts and rescue teams from a number of its Member States and other regions to provide relief and recovery. PAHO/WHO is working with other United Nations agencies, international partners, and local authorities in these efforts and is assessing the impact of the earthquake on the health situation. Donors countries including USA,Canada and Spain have pledged additional funds through PAHO.

All the countries in the Region have responded with great solidarity by sending rescue missions, medical teams, medical supplies, water, food and other general provisions to Haiti. Some of these relief efforts include:

-Dominican Republic has strengthened the health services and hospitals along the border to assist with evacuations of injured and care for the sick.

-Cuba provided 403 health workers, 334 of whom were already working in the country prior to the earthquake. The ministries of health of Cuba and Haiti are coordinating the evacuation of survivors with urgent medical needs for treatment in Cuba.

-Jamaica has also agreed to receive earthquake victims in their hospitals, which have been placed on alert.

-Brazil had contributed US$10 million and an air bridge with critical supplies.

-Venezuela has offered to help reestablish the provision of free fuel to medical facilities.

-Cargo planes carrying provisions including medical, rescue and military personnel, medical supplies, water, food, and shelter (tents) have been sent by countries including Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

-Mexico has sent rescue teams, cargo planes and hospital vessels.

-Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the CARICOM countries, among others, are also providing important contributions and are awaiting information on additional specific needs.


HAITI Earthqueake Map


Pan American Health Organization / Health Surveillance and Disease Prevention and Control /
- Health Information & Analysis


HAITI Health Profile
PAHO Health in the Americas
Edition 2007


Social, Political, and Economic Determinants

In 2004, Haiti—the first black nation and the first country to gain independence in Latin America—celebrated its independence bicentennial.After nearly two centuries of dictatorship and intermittent attempts at democracy beginning in the late 1980s, the country has suffered recurrent periods of political instability. To summarize political events in the period under review, Jean Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti in 2001. He again left the country in February 2004, and in March 2004 a transitional government was installed with the support of the United Nations Stabilization Mission, paving the way to normalization and efforts to strengthen the country’s institutions and to presidential and parliamentary elections in February 2006.

The vast majority of Haitians continue to live under precarious conditions, in poverty and marginalization. Haiti is considered to be the poorest country in the Americas.The country’s unequal income distribution (4% of the population has 66% of the nation’s wealth, while 10% has practically nothing) forces the poor to turn to nature for survival.Deficient farming practices on steep terrain have accelerated soil erosion, as the run-off from tropical rains flushes arable land toward the sea, obstructing urban drainage systems in its wake. Surface water is polluted by ineffective excreta and household waste management.

... Access to basic health care is inadequate. According to the 2005–2010 National Strategic Plan for Health Sector Reform published in November 2005, less than 40% of the population has access to basic health services in certain departments (among them, Ouest,Nord, and Nord-Est); 80% seeks care from traditional healers...

- Read more: Haiti Health Profile [PDF]
   PAHO Health in the Americas - Edition 2007.


HAITI - Quickly coordinating and delivering life-saving care is an immediate priority

PAHO Disasters & Humanitarian Assistance

PAHO Disasters & Humanitarian Assistance Site

Guidelines for Response to Earthquakes
One of the unfortunate effects of large-scale disasters is mass casualties; often, first responders don't know what to do with the dead bodies of victims when morgues--if they are even available--fill up. PAHO/WHO has published Management of Dead Bodies after Disasters, a field manual for first responders that presents simple recommendations for non-specialists to manage the recovery, basic identification, storage and disposal of dead bodies following disasters.

PAHO/WHO Regional Emergency Response Team - Field Manual
Guidelines for activating the PAHO/WHO Health Emergency Response Team, including the Team's responsibilities during different phases of the emergency. The complete package includes forms and verification lists to aid in the gathering of information for an evaluation of needs in the health sector.

Information Management and Communication in Emergencies and Disasters
Manual for Disaster Response Teams
This manual focuses on operational aspects of disaster and emergency response as well as preparing for disasters. It addresses plans for communicating with the public during emergencies and techniques for producing, exchanging, and distributing information for humanitarian organizations. Experiences from many emergency situations show that communication is most effective when information management is linked to information exchange and social communication techniques and processes.

Be a Better Donor: Practical Recommendations for Humanitarian Aid
When disaster strikes, the arrival or large quantities of donations presents enormous organizational and managerial challenges for authorities and humanitarian actors. PAHO/WHO and other partners have published a guide on how to be a good humanitarian donor.

PAHO Emergency Operations Center

PAHO/WHO Situation Reports

Three days after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, search and rescue efforts continue at a frantic pace. Communication within Haiti is still difficult although some international calls are getting through. This is hampering the collection of real time information on the health impact of the earthquake. On the ground, members of the Regional Response Team are assembled in the Dominican Republic and will be in Haiti by Friday.

PAHO Press Releases
WHO - Health action in crises


HQ Office

Pan American Health Organization

Pan American Sanitary Bureau
Regional Office of the
World Health Organization

525 23rd Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 1 (202)974-3000
Fax: 1 (202) 974-3663

Country Offices





About Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago
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