The relationship between health and development
By Dr .Paul Farmer,
Partners in Health, Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change,
Harvard Medical School
Science, Health and Development: Achievements and Challenges in One Hundred Years of PAHO.
XXXVII Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Health Research
Washington, DC, 12-14 June 2002
"The vast majority of the Haitian people live in poverty.
Between 1986 and 1994, with only brief exceptions, political violence was added
to the worst poverty in the hemisphere, with the expected effects on the health
status of the population. The restoration of constitution rule in 1994 was to
be linked to massive international support for rebuilding public health
infrastructure in Haiti. As of 2002, however, the U.S. government is
orchestrating an aid embargo against the Haitian government; loans for public
health, clean water, and education are all affected. Public health specialists
focusing on Haiti agree that the past several years have been marked by a
further decline in both Haiti's health infrastructure and in its people's
health. By and large, Haitians living in Haiti have not enjoyed the fruits of
twentieth-century scientific advances in medicine and public health and
ill-conceived "aid" has complicated the picture considerably.
Grounding our discussion in a broader review of the large-scale social forces
that have shaped sickness and death in rural Haiti brings into relief the
latest "hypocrisies of development.""(Au)