For those seeking information in advance of their deployment to Haiti to render aid, I'm sure you are Googling for information. I know you will find many scholarly articles that discuss some aspects of cultural relevance in the Haitian culture. Most notably the articles I've seen address HIV-related treatment, diarrhea in children, and influenza vaccination. I'm not linking to any of those articles since they require a paid subscription to read them and my budget (and perhaps yours) won't accomodate the luxury of unlimited access to those scholarly articles at this point. (As a side note, wouldn't it be a wonderful and valuable altruistic gesture on the part of publishers to release those Haitian-related publications for full-access at a time when the world attention is focused on wishing to help the unfortunate victims of this disasterous earthquake?)
Here are a few (for the most part free) readings that may augment your current knowledge about Haiti and the healthcare practices and beliefs of the Haitian people.
- Library of Congress Country Studies: Haiti
- Salisbury University article on Haitian culture and health beliefs
- U.S. Committe for Refugees, a health handout in Haitian Creole listed here for your information as I realize that the information contained herein is not relevant to the emergent needs you will be serving. Still this appears to be a really nice publication: Eating a balanced diet--Haitian version (pdf)
- From what I've read, communication can be tricky as the Creole language is primarily and may include difficult dialects. French may be understood by an individual, but apparently it is often on a more formal level and not the language of health literacy, so to speak. In that case, it would be wonderful to have access to the Massachusetts General point talk book as their website specifically endorses its value with Haitians among others. This publication must be ordered, but I'm sure there would be a way to access a copy very quickly if you contact them: About Mass General PointTalk Interpretor Tool
- U.S. based nurses brief (list-serve-type) discussion of nursing experiences in the Haitian culture
- Looks like A plus information: A group of relevant articles of experiences of Western healthcare providers who have worked on health projects in Haiti: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-53893762.html But you have to register for a 7-day-free subscription to Highbeam Research in order to read this group of articles. Credit card info is required, then don’t forget to cancel the subscription after 7 days or you will be charged a monthly $29.00 for access.
- From scribd.com comes the article embedded below:
Please feel free to leave a comment with advice based on your personal experiences or links to information that will help caregivers heading for Haiti.
. . . .