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Lancet Commentary Cautiously Optimistic About Public Health System In Haiti

In this Lancet commentary, John Vertefeuille, Scott Dowell, Jean Domercant and Jordan Tappero of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examine the state of the public health system in Haiti three years after a 7.0 earthquake struck the country, writing, “Haiti is starting to show that its health services have expanded far beyond those in place before the earthquake occurred.” The authors detail evidence of progress in four areas: water and sanitation, HIV, immunization, and neglected tropical diseases, principally lymphatic filariasis.

“We believe that further gains can be achieved in each of these domains, as well as in other areas such as tuberculosis control, emergency obstetrics care, and malaria elimination,” Vertefeuille and colleagues write, noting the introduction of several childhood immunizations likely will reduce under-five child mortality. “If these early successes are extended and sustained, significant public health achievement could warrant emphasis as one area of accomplishment in post-earthquake Haiti, with lessons for other post-disaster settings,” the authors conclude (1/15).