MSH and the International Rescue Committee Build Health Kiosks in Haiti
Following the devastating Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to respond to the relief effort in Haiti. The team focused on providing basic health services to the displaced people living in temporary camps. From May to July 2010, MSH and the IRC built and staffed 465 health kiosks to provide health information and services to more than 40,000 people. With the recent cholera outbreak in Haiti, MSH is working on reopening the health kiosks in the camps to help spread information about sanitation and prevention.
MSH mobilized its existing network of non-govermental organizations, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded and MSH-led Santé pour le Développement et la Stabilité d'Haïti (SDSH) project, to establish service delivery points in 50 camps to reduce the gaps in access to basic primary health care. Most of the permanent health service delivery sites quickly regained functionality in Haiti after the earthquake, but they were unable to provide basic health services to the displaced people because of the sharp increase in demand.
The health kiosks helped provide additional preventative service delivery points and offered an opportunity for the health providers to develop a new and improved type of interaction with their clients. The health kiosks, staffed by health auxiliaries and community health agents, were established to provide preventive care, information and education and, as necessary, referrals to existing fixed health facilities and/or temporary services provided by international organizations.
Through the kiosks, selected preventive health services were offered in 50 temporary settlements (camps) including: pre-and post-natal care, immunizations, distribution of Vitamin A and Albendazole (used to treat infections caused by worms), growth monitoring and nutrition education, family planning, hygiene education, Sexual Transmission Infections (STI) prevention and referrals for treatment.
Community involvement was ensured through the information and sensitization of "camp leaders," and the recruitment and training of young camp residents who played the critical role of health promoters in their environment. They conducted visits to households to assess family health needs, to provide information on services available, and counseling on health issues. They also took this opportunity to orient and refer, as needed, family members to appropriate health services available in the area.
Another important aspect of this program was its income generation and economic activity. The health promoters received monthly stipends for their contributions. Local micro entrepreneurs were contacted and paid to ensure transportation of materials and equipments as well as to prepare lunch for the field staff working in the kiosks.
The displaced people also benefited from health information and education on hygiene, maternal and child health, HIV prevention and family planning. The young promoters conducted 38,874 household and 2,875 health talks.
The SDSH Project, funded by USAID and implemented by MSH, supports 27 NGOs in Haiti's 10 Departments (districts) to deliver an integrated package of primary health services in 147 fixed health facilities (service delivery points) and in the communities surrounding these health facilities. All together SDSH supports over 1,500 community health workers and over 4,000 trained community-based traditional birth attendants (matrons).
SDSH is an MSH-led collaboration of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communications Programs (CCP), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), JHPIEGO, and Fondation pour la Santé Reproductrice et l'Education Familiale (FOSREF) with USAID, the Government of Haiti, local NGOs, community leaders, and the commercial private sector.