Prospective Community Studies in Developing Countries

By Monica Das Gupta; Peter Aaby et al. | Go to book overview

7 Longitudinal Community Health Research for Equity and Accountability in Primary Health Care in Haiti

GRETCHEN BERGGREN, WARREN BERGGREN, HENRI MENAGER, AND EDDY GENECE

Man is not a machine that one can reconstruct as occasion demands, upon other lines for quite other ends, in the hope that it win then proceed to function in a totally different way, just as normally as before. Man bears his age-long history with him; in his very structure is written the history of mankind.

Carl G. Jung


7.1 Introduction to Two Longitudinal Community Health Research (LCHR) Studies In Rural Haiti

The investigators undertook two longitudinal community health research (LCHR) studies to assess primary health-care activities in rural Haiti. The work was motivated by the need to demonstrate that selected interventions can reduce the impact on the community of the most frequent preventable, fatal and crippling diseases. Methods developed for surveillance also brought equity and accountability to primary health care at the community level.

The impetus for these studies originally came from the late Dr William Larimer Mellon, Jr., founder of the rural Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), Haiti, who increasingly advocated preventive medicine within a community development context. In 1968 public-health practitioners joined hospital staff members to develop outreach projects which could bring equity and coverage in preventive medicine to the district of 100,000 served by the hospital. A small LCHR project began at the same time in a defined population near the hospital in order to inform decision-makers about the most frequent preventable fatal and disabling diseases. Data gathered by the project could help officials who set priorities for community health from a limited budget. Initial methods

The studies were supported by the Grant Foundation of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital of Haiti, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Division of Family Hygiene of the Government of Haiti, the Batelle Memorial Institute, Bread for the World of Germany, IDRC/ Canada, and the UNFPA through its funding of Haiti's Division of Family Hygiene.

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