As our study tour kicks off in Port-au-Prince, we wanted to say a few words about why we’re going to Haiti, why these tours matter, and our plans for the future.
The overarching theme of this five-day study tour is to examine the US government funded health efforts in Haiti. The approaching five year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake has brought the country’s rebuilding efforts to the forefront of international development conversations once again. Unfortunately, much of the post-earthquake development dialogue has focused on the setbacks and delays of large-scale infrastructure and rebuilding projects without considering sectors such as health that have made relative progress. It is clear that greater awareness is needed among U.S. decision makers and the press in order to disaggregate the good from the bad and to recognize the health progress being made in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population.
The staffers have a packed schedule each day. Through meetings with local leaders and implementers, tours of US and non-US supported project sites, and visits to local health facilities and communities, the trip will demonstrate the work still to be done while celebrating the progress made to achieve a healthy future in Haiti. Some activities of note on the trip include meetings with the Haitian Minister of Public Health and Population, the US Ambassador to Haiti, and USAID/Haiti staff and site visits to an urban community health center, MDR-TB hospital and the State University of Haiti Hospital (HUEH). Each night concludes with a special dinner discussion with key Haitian and US leaders, in both the health and development sectors. (For the full schedule, click here).
Learning tours like this one are key for global health advocacy: they educate and engage Congress on global health issues and provide staffers with the opportunity to witness US development investments firsthand.
After we return, we will build on the knowledge gained and lessons learned from the tour to host debrief meetings with the NGO community and on Capitol Hill. We will also be hosting a full day policy summit on Haiti’s health progresses on Capitol Hill followed by a reception celebrating Haitian culture, collaboration, and future of health in Haiti.