Friday, March 26, 2010

Economics of Medical aid

The article on Medical Services raises some very serious questions.

 I have reposted the article here

The medical system in Haiti was already bad.

We have over 1500 Haitians studying medicine in the DR.  I had a meeting with two of the leaders of the Haitian students in the DR and they said that the issue was also the Haitian doctors would not qualify anyone to work in Haiti unless they had completed their internship in Haiti. AND there were not enough hospitals in Haiti to even accommodate the interns from the Haitian medical schools! So there was little chance that any of theses 1500 students were going to be able to return to practice medicine in Haiti... even if they wanted to... which, the two students admitted, only a small percentage really wanted ...

HOWEVER... I do think that many of these students.. and many qualified Haitian doctors in the diaspora WOULD return to Haiti to work if there were adequate financing for them.

The DR has a state run medical system.. with doctors pressing now to raise their wages to $1600 US a month --- admittedly, it is not the best system in the world since supplies are chronically low and there is no sort of real subsidy for the poor who cannot afford medications.. BUT the DR accepted.. before the Quake... as many as 10,000 Haitian women who crossed over to give birth since there are very few facilities on the Haitian side of the border..
Only in Belledare is there a hospital.. NOTHING in Ounaminthe. and a small clinic in Anse a Pitres which Batay Relief Alliance is now staffing....

While indeed is a great gift that all these medical professionals are giving to Haiti, the article raises a very valid point that as long as medical aid is given out for free, there will be no money for Haitian doctors.

AND since most of the money that is being pledged is not coming in for support of the government, there is no hope that the few state hospitals are going to be repaired and upgraded and staffed.

Could we have some discussion on this issue? Should not the NGOs who come in be required to employ Haitian doctors who are on the ground? Should they be "charged" a fee to help build up the State system ( I hear the yellow journalists sharpening their pencils)...

How can there be some sort of sustainability built into this aid system?

(as an aside, I know of one Christian group that flies medical aid into Haiti.. and ALSO flies it around the DR.. via helicopters...when we have excellent roads and bus transport... but WOW these "Christians" must be servants of a "Great GOD" to have helicopters.. and it will certainly "pay us" to convert to Protestant from our "heathen Catholic " religion)

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