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Nurs Outlook. 2012 Jan-Feb;60(1):16-20. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2011.03.016. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Nursing and nursing education in Haiti.

Author information

1
Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, NY, USA. rmg3@columbia.edu

Abstract

Haiti has long had the largest proportion of people living in poverty and the highest mortality level of any country in the Americas. On January 12, 2010, the most powerful earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years struck. Before the earthquake, half of all Haitians lacked any access to modern medical care services. Health care professionals in Haiti number around one-fourth of the world average and about one-tenth the ratio present in North America. The establishment of new primary care services in a country where half of the people had no access to modern health care prior to the earthquake requires advanced practice roles for nurses and midwives. With a high burden of infectious, parasitic, and nutritional conditions, Haiti especially needs mid-level community health workers and nurses who can train and supervise them for public health programs. As in many other developing countries, organized nursing lacks many of the management and planning skills needed to move its agenda forward. The public schools prepare 3-year diploma graduates. These programs have upgraded the curriculum little in decades and have mainly trained for hospital service. Primary care, public health program management, and patient education had often not been stressed. Specializations in midwifery and HIV care exist, while only informal programs of specialization exist in administration, surgery, and pediatrics. An advanced practice role, nonetheless, is not yet well established. Nursing has much to contribute to the recovery of Haiti and the revitalization if its health system. Professional nurses are needed in clinics and hospitals throughout the country to care for patients, including thousands in need of rehabilitation and mental health services. Haitian nursing colleagues in North America have key roles in strengthening their profession. Ways of supporting our Haitian colleagues are detailed.

PMID:
21745670
DOI:
10.1016/j.outlook.2011.03.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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