IOM Haiti’s Health Team works to bridge critical gaps in public health and psychosocial support, while supporting vulnerable individuals in camps and communities and responding to the cholera epidemic through a range of initiatives. This effort is achieved through direct service delivery and the creation of synergies with other IOM programs, particularly within IOM's role as CCCM Lead Agency. The Health unit work closely with other IOM units - i.e. CCCM; Camp Management Operations; Non-Food Items (NFIs); Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH); and Shelter - to provide health perspectives and key responses to these programs.
IOM’s Health team has been playing a significant role in cholera prevention, treatment and response following the outbreak in October 2010. In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Population, IOM has established over 365 Oral Rehydration Posts in highly vulnerable camps, communities and at key border crossing points. Over 2300 community cholera brigadiers have been trained by IOM in rapid response, early recognition and treatment, community sensitization and awareness and referral, to ensure that populations at risk are provided first line community care in line with national strategies. Other elements of response include facilitating transport of cholera patients, providing personal protective equipment, NFI cholera items to hospitals, health facilities and other partners such as NGO’s/INGO’s and agencies, as well as contributing to interagency mapping efforts.
In 2013, IOM continues to support cholera response in 73 camps, 13 communal sections in Artibonite and Sud-Est Departments and established additional 57 ORP’s , and reinforce rapid emergency response capacities to investigate reported cases, distribute cholera kits, transport suspected cholera patients, and reinforce capacities of MSPP staff at the departmental level to strengthen their response capacities. IOM works closely with MSPP to integrate cholera response into primary health care.
Water and Sanitation
IOM’s WASH team works closely with the GOH / Direction National de l’eau portable et l’assainissement (DINEPA), to carry out activities in both IDP camps and neighbourhoods. In addition to covering critical gaps in water and sanitation provision in camps, IOM the supports household-level water treatment, hygiene promotion and sensitization in rural communities of Upper Artibonite Region
Assisted Referral for Vulnerable Persons
Those who remain in IDP camps are often the most vulnerable and ongoing health costs/incidents can be significant barriers to successful return. In addition, the ongoing effects of displacement and the prospect and process of return can have significant impacts on the mental health and psychosocial well being of individuals and communities, and should be addressed in all steps of the return process, from community mobilization, to individual assistance and reintegration support. The main objective of this component of return assistance is to identify and address health and psychosocial issues BEFORE & AFTER return, in order to facilitate returns of vulnerable families, assist those with problems to prevent health incidents or costs after return, and prevent return/reintegration failure which could result in a return to camps.
IOM prioritizes those IDP camps receiving return and resettlement assistance, providing support to the most vulnerable, including:
- People living with disabilities (physical, sensorial, mental, intellectual)
- Pregnant, postpartum and lactating women
- Individuals and families with ongoing distress or mental health problems
- Infants and children under 5
- Elderly persons
- People with chronic or disabling illnesses including HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis,
- Acutely unwell patients
- Direct health and psychosocial assistance to 4,000 during returns/resettlement;
- Tailored assistance packages to 3,135 individuals and Enrollment of 444 vulnerable individuals in a Health Insurance program n the first quarter of 2013.
Preventive Public Health Information and Education
IOM has trained over 70 community health agents in camps and communities who returned to their neighborhoods to act as focal points on a range of important community health issues including health promotion, cholera and other infectious disease awareness such as TB/HIV, maternal and child health, and information on accessing health care. In 2011 these community focal points have conducted over 35,000 home visits, registered 1,414 pregnant women, and have identified over 300 suspected TB cases which were referred for screening, diagnosis and treatment.
Supporting the Ministry of Health in Priority Public Health Areas
IOM works closely with the Ministry of Health (MSPP) to assist in addressing critical public health gaps in a range of areas including mapping of camps and health facilities, developing and implementing strategies to address infectious diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis amongst displaced populations, building transitional shelters in government hospitals and health facilities as well as distributing health information to displaced populations.
Mainstreaming Health Considerations in Camp Management
IOM’s health unit ensures health considerations are taken into account in shelter and camp management operations, through efforts which include training coordination of condom distribution focal points in camps, allocating transitional shelter support for vulnerable patients as well as hospitals and health facilities, and ensuring actions such as site planning and service provision consider health, psychosocial and physical vulnerability factors. IOM’s health and shelter units worked together to build transitional wards and shelters for patients and hospitals across Port au Prince including HUEH General Hospital, Mars and Klein and Buedet Psychiatric Hospitals, and the destroyed TB Sanatorium in Carrefour Feuille.