HHA’s founder and President, Ketline Edouard, MSN, RN, is a native of Saint-Raphael, Haiti. Growing up in Saint-Raphael she saw suffering and deaths because basic health care is out of reach for most of the people of Saint-Raphael due to the cost and limited access, which inspired her to become a nurse. Her motivation for forming this organization was the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 and her desire to provide humanitarian aid, which she did by organizing the first mobile health clinic in October 2010. Although substantial resources poured into Haiti for earthquake recovery they were concentrated in the coastal areas of Port-au-Prince. With public health resources diverted to disaster relief minimal services were focused on inland areas like Saint-Raphael. While there are many non-governmental organizations in Haiti, none are operating in Saint-Raphael and the surrounding communities.
On the 2010 trip Ms. Edouard saw firsthand that the people of Saint-Raphael and surrounding communities were still dying of endemic diseases such as malaria, typhoid, pneumonia, malnutrition, tuberculosis and gastroenteritis; all of which are preventable and manageable when proper treatment is available. Haiti has vast medical care needs that are impossible for the country’s public health service to meet. Overall in Haiti, there are inadequate numbers of physicians and nurses to care for the sick; hospitals are regionalized and often understaffed, undersupplied and without sufficient medications to meet patient needs. The destructive 2010 earthquake served to further weaken the previously unstable health care infrastructure in Haiti. As a result, people do not seek medical care until diseases have advanced. The situation is particularly acute for the inhabitants of Saint-Raphael which is located in the mountainous northern region of Haiti and is additionally burdened with poor quality roads. There are only two hospitals in the entire northern area of Haiti – a 250-bed in Cap-Haitian and 73-bed in Milot, both located 28 miles and 23 miles respectively from Saint-Raphael. While these distances may not seem great they are because of the poor quality of the roads in the area – a one-way 28 mile trip from Saint-Raphael to Cap-Haitian takes 2 hours by jeep. Access to primary care is even more important for these people to be able to manage chronic diseases because getting to an emergency department in a timely manner is so difficult.
During three successfully executing mobile health clinic trips to Haiti in 2010, 2011 and 2013, HHA’s founders provided 800 medical visits and 1,800 health education visits to the residents of Saint-Raphael and surrounding communities. Also during these trips HHA’s founders established a partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Public ealth and Populations (MSPP). Adeski Moise, MD, a physician at the MSPP Center for Health in Saint-Raphael, agreed to serve as a member of HHA’s Advisory Committee. It was also agreed that the first day the HHA mobile health clinic would be held in the MSPP Center for Health and that the MSPP Center would maintain all HHA patient medical records and provide all necessary follow-up care. This close relationship ensures continuity of care for our patients.
In 2014 the organization formally selected the name Haiti Health Alliance, Inc. and organized as a non-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In 2015 the Internal Revenue Service approved HHA as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.
HHA believes that access to health care and medication is what the people of Saint-Raphael, Haiti and the surrounding communities need and deserve as a basic human right. HHA has the people committed, and the organizational infrastructure in place, to make a significant positive impact on the health status of the people in this area.