An examination of the gender-disaggregated post-disaster health needs of chronically under-served men, women, girls and boys in Haiti’s south
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that tore through southwestern Haiti on the morning of August 14, 2021, left thousands dead, injured and displaced. The earthquake struck on the heels of recent political and civil unrest, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and deteriorating circumstances for Haitians already experiencing extreme poverty, income and food insecurity, and limited access to healthcare. Women and girls are more adversely affected than men and boys during and after natural disasters. Moreover, these events reinforce, perpetuate, and increase gender inequality and exclusion among other intersecting vulnerabilities such as age, income, education level, and ability.
Reliable health data is essential to strengthen disaster preparedness and response mechanisms that can respond to the needs of those most affected in the immediate aftermath and the weeks and months that follow. Limited resources and competing priorities have prevented Haiti from investing in high-quality health management information systems, therefore decision-makers are forced to plan and act without a sound evidence base. Recognizing that earthquakes or other shocks are not uncommon to the Haitian health system, there is much to be gained from analyzing the epidemiological data collected following an earthquake to inform future preparedness and response efforts that can address gender and other inequities in accessing health services.
This project will digitize, anonymize, and retrospectively analyze epidemiological data stored in over 17,000 patient files of Americares’ post-earthquake response. Working closely with the Ministry of Population and Public Health, the project will generate actionable recommendations for health planners, health providers, and disaster preparedness and response teams. Expected outcomes include improved capacity for gender transformative research and analysis, enhanced understanding of gender-disaggregated clinical consequences of the August 2021 earthquake, and improved ability of post-disaster data collection systems in Haiti to capture health data linked to socio-economic status and other social markers. The project will produce presentations for academic conferences, open access peer-reviewed manuscripts, and other knowledge products such as brochures and policy briefs.