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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

ESTUPINAN-DAY, Saskia; LAFONTANT, Christina  and  ACUNA, Maria Cecilia. Integrating oral health into Haiti's National Health Plan: from disaster relief to sustainable development. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.30, n.5, pp. 484-489. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892011001100012.

In 2010, Haiti suffered three devastating national emergencies: a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed over 200 000 and injured 300 000; a cholera outbreak that challenged recovery efforts and caused more deaths; and Hurricane Tomas, which brought additional destruction. In the aftermath, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reoriented its technical cooperation to face the myriad of new challenges and needs. Efforts included support and technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Population of Haiti and coordination of actions by the United Nations Health Cluster. This Special Report focuses specifically on the PAHO Regional Oral Health Program's call to action in Haiti and the institutional partnerships that were developed to leverage resources for oral health during this critical time and beyond. To date, achievements include working with Haiti's private sector, dental schools, public health associations, and other stakeholders, via the Oral Health of Haiti (OHOH) Coalition. The OHOH aims to meet the immediate needs of the dental community and to rebuild the oral health component of the health system; to provide dental materials and supplies to oral health sites in affected areas; and to ensure that the "Basic Package of Health Services" includes specific interventions for oral health care and services. The experience in Haiti serves as a reminder to the international community of how important linking immediate/short-term disaster-response to mid- and longterm strategies is to building a health system that provides timely access to health services, including oral health. Haiti's humanitarian crisis became an important time to rethink the country's health system and services in terms of the right to health and the concepts of citizenship, solidarity, and sustainable development.

Keywords : Oral health; national health programs; emergency plan; delivery of health care; Pan American Health Organization; Haiti.

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