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28099: Hermantin(News)Shalala to push for Haiti's health (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Posted on Sat, Mar. 11, 2006
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
Shalala to push for Haiti's health
UM President Donna Shalala and a renowned global health expert will visit Haiti
to promote better healthcare in the poverty-stricken nation.
BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
For years now, University of Miami doctors and medical students have been
quietly working to promote better healthcare in poverty-stricken Haiti,
treating HIV-infected individuals and training Haitian doctors.
That work will be the focus of a three-day visit set to begin on Sunday by
University of Miami President Donna Shalala, and best-selling author and global
health expert, Laurie Garrett.
Garrett, who has made a name for herself focusing on infectious diseases and
their impact on foreign policies, has focused much of her work on Africa and
Asia. She has spent a limited time in the Caribbean, but Shalala and others are
hoping the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist catches the Haiti bug.
''I am just going along for the ride,'' said Shalala, who has traveled to Haiti
once before to see first-hand the work her university is doing in the Caribbean
island. ``I am a minor player.''
Shalala's trip comes at a time when she faces mounting criticism about the
private university's handling of a janitorial contract that has left janitors
without healthcare insurance. Last week the university's janitors went on
strike, demanding better pay and health insurance coverage.
Garrett said she has no expectations for the trip, other than to see first-hand
the challenges UM doctors like Arthur Fournier face as they attempt to lower
HIV infection rates in Haiti by addressing the psychological and social issues
with families, and distribute antiretroviral drugs to help prolong lives.
''I don't think it's just an issue of poverty, it's in equality,'' Fournier
said. ``You've got to start in rural Haiti, make the land productive again and
Garrett, Fournier and Shalala are expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince on
Sunday where they will meet with Haitian health officials, as well as HIV
experts on the ground.
On Monday they will travel to Haiti's second largest city, Cap-Haitien where
Garrett will meet with Dr. Andre Vulcain. Vulcain is the faculty liaison to
UM's Family Medicine Residency Training Program, which is currently training
five Haitian doctors, Fournier said. There also will be a visit to Thomonde, a
rural town where the South Florida-based Green Family Foundation operates a
''What we are doing right now is doomed to fail,'' said Garrett, a critic of
the failure of foreign and national policies to reduce the spread of infectious
diseases. ``We have no idea what we are doing.