IMA World Health began its work in Haiti in 1998, partnering with the Haitian Ministry of Health and others to open a clinic to treat lymphedema, one of the debilitating symptoms of lymphatic filariasis, or LF. Since then, IMA has supported health in Haiti in a variety of ways.
IMA began distributing preventive treatment for LF in Haiti through mass drug administration in 2007; and then in 2011, IMA became the lead implementing partner in Haiti for the ENVISION project to combat LF and soil transmitted helminths. Our work expanded in 2015 when, in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, IMA launched the Healthy Schools, Successful Children project to address water, sanitation and hygiene issues in Haitian schools. IMA also developed and maintains a public-private partnership with TOMS, an American footwear company, to provide children in Haiti with hundreds of thousands of pairs of new shoes, which are the first line of defense against soil-transmitted helminthes or STH infection.
The ENVISION project, led by RTI International, aims to eliminate lymphatic filariasis and control soil transmitted Helminthes in Haiti. ENVISION is a collaborative effort at every level; IMA works alongside donors and the Haiti Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program, a joint effort between the Ministry of Health and Population and the Ministry of Education, to provide mass drug administration of two safe drugs, diethylcarbamazine and albendazole, in 4 of Haiti’s 10 departments—treating 2.8 million Haitians. To reach a population this size, IMA has trained approximately 20,000 community leaders, promoters and distributors to educate the population about LF, persuade the highest number of households possible to participate in preventive treatment for the disease, and conduct MDA through community distribution posts and schools.
As Haiti works toward the goal of eliminating LF by 2020, the LF surveillance work takes on an increasingly important role. IMA and the Ministry of Health have carried out 22 LF transmission assessment surveys (known as TAS) to date, including nine such surveys in 55 communes this year. The logistically complex surveys are carried out in hundreds of schools and communities across two-three weeks to determine if disease transmission has been disrupted.
$1.96 million | Episcopal Relief & Development | 2015-2018
According to a Ministry of Education report, more than 74 percent of Haiti’s schools lack a water installation, 84 percent lack treated drinking water and more than 40 percent lack functional toilets or latrines. In 2015, IMA partnered with member agency Episcopal Relief & Development to improve students’ health, school participation and educational success through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in 60 public and Episcopalian schools in the Southeast, South and Grand’Anse departments. The project aims to provide or build latrines, reservoirs, water filters, and handwashing stations in schools as well as establish frameworks that enable schools and communities to sustain progress and maintain the infrastructure beyond the project’s lifespan.
TOMS | 2010-present
Shoes are one of the first levels of defense when it comes to good health—and they are a great complement to the ENVISION program IMA implements in Haiti. In 2010, IMA and TOMS partnered to add shoe distribution to its work to prevent and treat hookworm and other neglected tropical diseases. Using the same network of volunteers who distribute drugs at MDAs, IMA has efficiently worked with TOMS to provide new shoes to school children to help keep them healthy and able to attend school. In addition to preventing cuts and injuries that can become infected, shoes help prevent the spread of hookworm and other soil-transmitted diseases that can enter through the feet. Shoes are also required for school enrollment.