Three partners join the Canadian Red Cross to develop an integrated health program for Haiti

MONTREAL, Jan. 10 /CNW/ - Nearly a year after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, the Canadian Red Cross is bolstering its commitment to the global relief effort in the country with the announcement of a partnership for a new integrated health program for Haiti. This five-year program will make it possible to reconstruct and strengthen the health care system for the most vulnerable groups in four districts in the country's southeast. It will aim to maximize positive, long-term health outcomes for Haitians by improving access to quality health services for mothers, newborns and children, and by strengthening community resilience in terms of community care and first aid.

The Canadian Red Cross is proud to be announcing the partnership with the Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine [Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre], the Direction de santé publique [Public Health Department] of the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal [Montréal Health and Social Services Agency] and the Unité de santé internationale [International Health Unit] at the Université de Montréal for an integrated health program for Haiti.

The Red Cross carries out its work in Haiti in collaboration with its partners and will work closely with the Government of Haiti and the Haitian Red Cross in implementing this health program. This integrated health program for Haiti is part of the strategy put forth by the Ministère de la Santé publique et de la Population d'Haïti [Ministry of Public Health and Haitian Population]. The Canadian Red Cross has committed $25 million to long-term health care programming in Haiti.

"This integrated health program could not exist without the generosity of Canadians and the full collaboration of our partners. We all understand that Haiti's reconstruction is not only, or first and foremost, an issue of materials and engineering. It includes, at a very fundamental level, the weaving of a social system that includes health," said Conrad Sauvé, Secretary General of the Canadian Red Cross.

"The CHU Sainte-Justine has been committed to Haiti for many years. This deep commitment, along with its advanced expertise and leadership in maternal and infant health, has made the CHU Sainte-Justine a natural partner for the Canadian Red Cross. Our organization is proud to be able to contribute to this program by deploying, over the next five years, the necessary energy to strengthen the capacities of clinical and administrative personnel at the Jacmel Hospital and the health centres in the region," declared Dr. Fabrice Brunet, Director General of CHU Sainte-Justine.

With the experience it has gained in providing support to Haiti for more than 15 years and with its experience in some thirty other countries, the Unité de santé internationale (USI) at the Université de Montréal will work hard to strengthen the institutional capacities of the Département sanitaire du Sud-Est [Southeast Health Department] and the Haitian Red Cross, particularly through personnel training.

"The USI will provide the necessary tools to Haitian leaders in the areas of planning, health services organization and care management," explained Joseph Hubert, Vice President of Research and International Relations at the Université de Montréal. "It will thus make a sustainable contribution to the development of Haitian health care system."

To adopt preventive health behaviours, to acquire knowledge, attitudes and practices that lead to better health. This is why the contribution of the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal is focused on training and on reviewing public health practices, said the director of public health, Dr. Richard Lessard. This includes, for example, establishing a basic health profile, supporting public health capacity building that targets reductions in maternal mortality, and identifying promising promotion and prevention strategies.

Donations received from generous Canadians in the earthquakes aftermath have been used to provide emergency aid and will continue to support long-term rebuilding in several areas, including health care. The Canadian Red Cross has been working in Haiti since 2003 and has developed a solid partnership with the Haitian Red Cross in the areas of rescue, disaster preparation and community health. The new program is based on lessons learned in the field and the importance of ensuring ongoing access to quality health care services in order to improve the health of a population.

About the Canadian Red Cross
The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and more than 185 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. Our mission is to improve the living conditions of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

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