Better coordinated health care needed to better serve Haitians post-earthquake

October 5, 2013

Three years after an earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and left an estimated 1.5 million people homeless in Haiti, a Henry Ford Hospital study found that more mobilized medical care is necessary to bridge cultural and health care barriers and better serve the Haitian population.

Highlights of the study:

  • 79 percent said their religious leader was their main source of health care information.
  • 76 percent said they felt insecure in their ability to care for loved ones who are sick.
  • 69 percent said Western medicine is less safe than traditional Haitian medicine.
  • 58 percent said they never heard of dengue, an infectious tropical disease transmitted by mosquitos. Symptoms include fever and headache.
  • 50 percent had or knew someone who contracted malaria.
  • 30 percent said fever was their chief health complaint.

Samia Arshad, MPH, a Henry Ford Infectious Diseases epidemiologist and the study's lead author, related the story of a woman whose traditional healer diagnosed her pregnant, only to learn later at a health clinic that she had a tumor in her stomach.

"These results show that a more coordinated effort is needed to develop some standard guidelines to bring together the various efforts for providing health care to the Haitian population, and to address gaps in prevention methods," Arshad says.

The study is being presented Saturday at the Infectious Diseases Society of America's annual meeting in San Francisco.

Henry Ford researchers sought to examine health-seeking behaviors, utilization and vaccination prevalence.

The findings were compiled from health care surveys conducted by Henry Ford researchers during three medical mission trips to the country from June 2012 to January 2013. Researchers, with the aid of translators, surveyed 204 Haitians at 11 free health clinics in urban and rural areas. Other key findings:

  • 28 percent said they or other family members went to the hospital when sick.
  • 24 percent said they self-treated.
  • On average, respondents visited a facility 4.6 times in the past six months.

Arshad said a large majority of respondents said vaccination is effective for preventing diseases, and either had their child or themselves vaccinated.

Explore further: New antibiotic shows promise for treating MRSA pneumonia

Related Stories

New antibiotic shows promise for treating MRSA pneumonia

September 11, 2013
A drug approved just two years ago for treating bacterial infections may hold promise for treating the potentially fatal MRSA pneumonia, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

CDC: Flu shot coverage of health care personnel increasing

September 27, 2013
(HealthDay)—Influenza vaccination coverage has increased among health care personnel but varies by occupation type and occupational setting, according to a report published in the Sept. 27 issue of the U.S. Centers for ...

Many health care professionals oppose ACA proposals

October 1, 2013
(HealthDay)—The majority of health care professionals are concerned about negative outcomes relating to enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), although they recognize the benefits, according to a survey conducted by ...

ER visits for urinary tract infections add almost $4 billion a year in unnecessary costs

May 6, 2013
Giving patients better access to primary health care could save nearly $4 billion a year in unnecessary emergency room visits for a single common complaint – urinary tract infections – according to a study by the Vattikuti ...

Free head, neck cancer screenings have positive impact in urban areas

October 2, 2013
Offering free head and neck cancer screenings annually to the community not only has the possibility of early detection, but also the opportunity – particularly in an urban city – to increase a person's understanding ...

Study: Optimal treatment duration for MRSA-related pneumonia

October 19, 2012
The national practice guideline for treating MRSA-related pneumonia is seven to 21 days. A Henry Ford Hospital study found that effective treatment can be done in half the time.

Recommended for you

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

The environmental injustice of beauty

August 16, 2017
Women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women, according to a commentary published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors say ...

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

August 15, 2017
Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

Taking a stand on staying mobile after 80

August 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—If you want to stay as fit as possible well into your 80s, the answer may be as simple as standing on your own two feet.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.