FACTBOX - Haiti's health problems

by Anastasia Moloney | @anastasiabogota | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 05:53 GMT

In a 2012 file photo, a young girl diagnosed with cholera cries while being treated at a medical center run by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) outside of Port-au-Prince, on Nov. 1, 2012. REUTERS/Swoan Parker

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Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Around three-quarters of the country’s 10 million inhabitants live on less than $2 per day, which means that when Haitians get sick, many can’t afford the transportation to reach a local clinic or the medicines and healthcare they need.

Haiti’s health sector is largely propped up by a myriad of foreign non-governmental organisations, and it relies heavily on international aid to function.

Here are some facts about Haiti’s biggest public health challenges:


  • Haiti suffers the world’s largest cholera epidemic. The disease has killed more than 8,300 Haitians and has made nearly 690,000 people sick since the start of the cholera outbreak in October 2010.
  • Haiti has the lowest levels of access to drinking water and sanitation in the Americas, making it difficult to reduce the impact of cholera, a water-borne disease.
  • Nearly 172,000 people are still living in makeshift tent camps following the January 2010 earthquake, with little access to toilets and drinking water, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
  • In a bid to eradicate the cholera epidemic, international aid donors have pledged $2.2 billion over the next 10 years to improve sanitation, medical infrastructure and access to drinking water.
  • Some 817,000 Haitians will need humanitarian aid in 2014, including food aid to combat malnutrition and hunger, shelter, and anti-cholera initiatives, estimates the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA).


  • In Haiti, nearly a quarter of children aged 6 to 59 months experience chronic malnutrition, according to UNICEF. Malnutrition is the major underlying cause of death in children under 5 in Haiti.

Sources: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, U.N. World Food Programme, UNICEF, and International Organization for Migration.

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