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Opinions: Rebuilding Haiti

Healthcare, Agriculture, Education Need To Be Top Priorities In Rebuilding Of Haiti  

In a Baltimore Sun opinion piece, Richard Santos – president and CEO of IMA World Health, a non-profit that provides health care services and supplies – describes what he sees as the top three priorities for the rebuilding of Haiti, beginning with healthcare, which he describes as ” foundational to all else.” He continues, “Development groups have experience setting up basic health care systems in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other difficult environments. The same can and must be done in Haiti. Only when Haitians obtain a basic level of health care will they be able to build a stable economy and society.”

Agricultural development and education are also key to the rebuilding of Haiti, Santos writes, before offering ways the international community can provide assistance in these areas. “The international community’s response to date gives one hope that, this time, things will turn out differently in Haiti,” he writes. “This time, let’s really help the people of Haiti help themselves” (2/11).

Rebuilding, Recovery Of Haiti Needs To Focus On Needs Of Children

“As the U.S. and other countries make plans to help Haiti get back on its feet,” following the Jan. 12 earthquake “emphasis should be on enhancing that nation’s resiliency – and that will mean dealing with the needs of its children,” Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and president of the Children’s Health Fund, writes in a USA Today opinion piece. Redlener outlines the long-term effects the earthquake in Haiti will likely have on the region’s children, ranging from psychological trauma to chronic illness born out of the difficulty children have accessing clean water and medical care.

“… [T]he recovery and rebuilding of this fragile nation must begin and end with a central focus on the immediate and long-term needs of children,” Redlener writes. “If there is to be a glimmer of hope for Haiti, it will be because the international community understands that the capacity to rise from the ashes of catastrophe is directly related to the health, well-being and potential of its youngest generation” (2/10).