Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Health Care in Haiti. (at the Center)

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Health Care in Haiti. (at the Center)

Article excerpt

What does it mean to be a good doctor in a resource poor country? In a country where political instability is the only stable feature of government? Where basic health care, eassential nutrition and clean water are luxuries? Where the rates of HIV/AIDS are up to 10 percent?

A trip to Haiti in February brought these questions to the forefront for me. I am involved in a research project designed to build ethics capacity among doctors and medical researchers at a nonprofit health care and research institution in Port-au-Prince. The institution is called, "The Haitian Study Group on Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections," or simply, GHESKIO, and it is the only health facility in Port-au-Prince that provides free health care services and treatment for HIV/AIDS and related diseases.

My visit also forced me to think about the broader issue of health inequities in an era of globalization. By air, Haiti is only three hours away from New York City, yet one does not get a sense that it is part of the West. History explains, to an extent, why this war-ravaged country is in a state of despair, but to justify a global moral responsibility to alleviate Haiti's problems, we need to look beyond history. Such a moral responsibility must come partly from our own sense of humanity. Because we live in a global community, we cannot simply listen to stories of suffering, shake our heads in sympathy, and carry on with our lives. The situation in Haiti epitomizes the health inequalities and human misery present in much of the developing world. …

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