Hygiene in HaitiFrom health statistics to economic factors, Haiti is a small country located in the Western Hemisphere that is known to be the poorest country in the Americans and one of the poorest in the world.1 Geographically, Haiti is smaller than the U.S. state, Maryland, with approximately 10 million people living there.2,3 From natural disasters to poverty, there have been many challenges that have been brought upon this country. In order to adequately address concerns of Haiti, it is necessary to discuss current health statistics, as well as the healthcare system and education that one may encounter by visiting Haiti. By understanding the countries health statistics, we will be able to focus on the improvement of hygiene. Thus, our goal is to specifically be able to impact the lives of those who currently live in Haiti by making improvements to their hygiene and overall health. The country of Haiti has many detrimental health statistics that must be taken into consideration. First, the life expectancy from birth based from 2015 statistics is 62 years old for males and 66 years old for females.3 This is approximately a 15 year decline in life expectancy compared to the United States.4 In addition, the infant mortality in 2015 has been documented as 55 per 1000 births, while the United States infant mortality in 2017 is approximately 6 per 1000 births.5,6 On the other hand, nutrition is a major aspect that contributes to one’s health. Specifically, 50% of people in Haiti are undernourished, which is nearly 5 million people.7 Poverty within Haiti has had a major impact not only on the health, but also the economy as a whole. Nevertheless, there are a numerous amount of health statistics that have negatively impacted Haiti; however, natural disasters are another factor that has impacted the health of individuals who live in Haiti. It is difficult to discuss the current situation in Haiti without stating the January 2010 earthquake that has affected 3 million people and has taken the lives of 230,000 people. In the past, Haiti has struggled with poor health outcomes for generations and this was further debilitated from the earthquake that broke the country. One of the major problems is the weak health system, according to the U.S government, about 40 % of the population lacks access to basic and essential healthcare and about only 45% of children in the country are fully vaccinated. Another major problem is the availability for services. In the country, there is not a lot of health professionals to help better the health of Haiti. “Attracting and retaining qualified health professionals is a chronic struggle, with as few as six health professionals per 10,000 people.”9 Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere on the globe and that is a major flaw in trying to improve the healthcare system. Haiti has very little funding for the environment and they are still are dependent on international funding to provide the citizens access to healthcare. Another challenge that is still being faced is the overall health infrastructure of Haiti. After all the destruction the earthquake has caused, many existing health care and storage facilities have been destroyed. The poor hygiene in Haiti has been affecting the healthcare system drastically. “Access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and education about proper hygiene can reduce illness and death from disease”.8 The world health organization stated that after the earthquake that about 69% of the Haitians had access to clean water. The lack of access of clean water has subdued the process of help curing diseases and maintaining adequate health in the country. Access to clean water and good hygiene should not be a privilege but rather a right for every human that roams our planet. So much time has passed and there are so many citizens that do not have adequate access to clean water and supplies to maintain good hygiene and health. “The role of safe water in public health programs is often taken for granted. Interventions such as those for HIV, TB, and lymphatic filariasis (LF) rely on administering oral medication with a swallow of water. If that water is contaminated, it could lead to infections that further complicate those conditions.”8 Something that we take for granted such as access to clean water can help so many people in Haiti in so many areas. From the above information it is apparent that there are ample opportunities for health care education and intervention in Haiti. In regards to hygiene specifically there are plenty of education points that could increase the quality of life of the citizens of Haiti. Due to the poor state of the healthcare system, prevention of disease is a key point in this country. Hygiene plays a integral role in the prevention of a large number of diseases. One aspect of hygiene is the cleanliness of the water being consumed. People could be educated on the harmful effects of consuming dirty water, but more importantly on ways to sterilize the water they wish to consume. The people of Haiti could also be educated on precautions to take around those who are sick in order to prevent contracting the disease from the infected person, assuming the disease in question is communicable. This could include wearing some type of a makeshift mask so they do not breathe in germs the infected person may be expelling. Education could also be directed at how a person should act when they themselves are sick. In this case people could be educated to avoid unnecessary contact with other people in order to decrease their risk of spreading the disease to another person. All in all there are many subjects that could be brought up and taught to the people of Haiti in order to improve their quality of life. The 10 million Haitians are living in a country that cannot provide them adequate health care and basic natural resources. Every person, regardless of race deserves the right to clean water and basic hygiene. Improving hygiene in Haiti will ultimately raise the quality of life for its people. Haiti requires international intervention in order to raise the standard of living. That is why our group hopes to develop a grant that will enable us to help the people of Haiti. We have the power, knowledge, and supplies to educate and provide resources to promote better hygiene in Haiti.