Haiti has one of the oldest AIDS epidemics and one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Gaps exist in testing, treatment and prevention, and stigma and discrimination stagnate the problem.
PSI/Haiti targets high-risk groups such as youth, commercial sex workers and law enforcement with mass media and peer education. Messages stress correct and consistent condom use, partner reduction, and the importance of testing. PSI/Haiti has also developed strategic partnerships with national and community-based media.
Since its inception, PSI/Haiti has sold more than 100 million male condoms and about 300,000 female condoms. PSI/Haiti also provides voluntary counseling and testing through mobile sites to reach target at-risk groups in Port-au-Prince.
The Americans region as a whole boasts a greater than 30% decrease in reported malaria cases and deaths since 2000. However, Haiti has not been a part of this progress.
In 2005, PSI/Haiti partnered with the Ministry of Health and Population to promote insecticide-treated nets (ITNs). The next year, the partnership marketed Serena-brand and generic ITNs, and distributed them to pregnant women and families with children under age 5. Another project is under way that is selling and distributing 300,000 ITNs over five years through NGO partners and commercial distributors. This project targets high-risk areas such as the Artibonite Valley, which has low altitude and abundant rainfall.
Haiti has the lowest contraceptive prevalence in Latin America and the Caribbean. Only 18% of Haitians use family planning, compared to well over 60% in Cuba, Columbia and Brazil. PSI/Haiti’s family planning program works with pharmaceutical distributors and retailers to make Pilplan, an oral contraceptive, and Confiance, a three-month injectable contraceptive, easily available. Social marketing campaigns also empower women with slogans, such as “C’est moi qui decide!” (“I’m the one to decide!”). Sales of female condom Reyalite increased 126% after this slogan debuted.
Diarrhea is endemic in Haiti and the second cause of death among children under 5. Recently, water access and quality in Haiti has suffered even more than what’s typical due to civil unrest and recent flooding and hurricane damage.
PSI/Haiti has introduced two point-of-use household water treatment products – PuR and Dlo Lavi – to increase access to safe water and lower the risk of developing diarrhea. Point-of-use water treatments have shown reductions of 30% to 50% in diarrhea disease, with even higher reductions during water-borne epidemics.
In October 2005, PSI/Haiti expanded into child nutrition when it launched Babyfer, an iron and micronutrient supplement to reduce the risk of anemia and related development problems. PSI/Haiti also provides Sel Lavi-brand oral rehydration salts to treat and prevent diarrhea-related dehydration.
Blood donation in Haiti is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. In 2005, PSI/Haiti began collaborating under the direction of the Ministry for Public Health and Population to improve this ranking with a campaign to inspire volunteers to donate regularly.