Haiti Introduces Essential Package of Health Services

MSH Country Representative Dr. Margareth MalletPhoto Credit: Ministry of Health and Population

Haiti's Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) officially unveiled a manual for introducing the country's new Essential Package of Health Services at a ceremony today in Pétion Ville. The manual outlines relevant mandates and defines how service provision should be structured in health facilities to effectively deliver the package.

Key stakeholders in Haiti's health system attending the September 1 ceremony included the first lady, Ms. Ginette Privert; minister of health, Dr. Daphnée Benoit Delsoin; director general of the MSPP, Dr. Gabriel Timothée; MSH country representative, Dr. Margareth Mallet; the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization's country representative, Dr. Jean-Luc Poncelet; as well as numerous representatives of MSPP partner organizations. The Essential Package of Health Services manual will guide the standardization of health service provision at the primary and secondary levels of Haiti's health system. It is meant for public, private, and mixed public-private health facilities alike, and applies to all categories of health professionals.

First Lady Ginette Privert advised that in order to move from publishing the manual to effectively using it to implement an Essential Package of Health Services in Haiti, health program managers will need to inform and motivate decision makers in the political system and in civil society to ensure the MSPP receives sufficient financing to meet its obligation to the Haitian people. Ms. Privert's comments were timely, as the Haitian parliament is in the process of finalizing approval of the national budget.

Minister of Health Dr. Daphnée Benoit Delsoin said that the MSPP's vision of universal access to quality health services in Haiti is the foundation of the Essential Package of Health Services, which also represents an important step in implementing the national strategic plan for health system reform. MSPP Director General Dr. Gabriel Timothée thanked partners for their support, particularly USAID. He noted that USAID's Leadership Management and Governance (LMG) project, which is led by MSH, contributed directly to establishment of the Essential Package of Health Services and led development of the manual.

MSH Country Representative Dr. Margareth Mallet reaffirmed her organization's support for the MSPP through the LMG project, specifying that MSH will now assist in disseminating the Essential Package of Health Services manual, ultimately ensuring that it becomes the definitive tool for public and private health facilities to implement and take ownership of new service standards.

Dr. Lucile Riché, the MSPP's director of health service operations, provided greater detail on the Essential Package of Health Services, specifying that it is made of 10 components covering a range of services, including women's health, maternal and child health, infectious disease, chronic disease, and nutrition, among others. The ceremony to present the Essential Package of Health Services manual culminated 17 months of work and field research by the MSPP, which was led by the Ministry's directorate of health service operations along with additional central and departmental directorates, and supported by USAID through the LMG project, which has been led by MSH since 2012.

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