By Dr. Gérard Alphonse Férère, Professor Emeritus, Saint Joseph's University.
As part of his vulgar and spurious statements against Haiti and her citizens, Donald Trump allegedly declared that "all Haitians have AIDS". Such erroneous statement would illustrate the level of his paroxysmal lack of information about that proud and loving people. Hereafter, a clear historical and scientific discussion of what I call "The truth about the introduction of AIDS from the U.S. to Haiti". It was in 1981 that two occurrences of the disease were formally confirmed in the continental United States, but it is believed that these were not necessarily the first. Soon after, in 1982, a most incorrect and unfortunate decision by the American medical authorities was made, when rushing to judgment, they indiscriminately included all Haitians among their so-called "high risk groups", together with homosexual men and I.V. drug users. In that regard, positions were taken and official statements made in very irresponsible manners by people who should have known better. As a consequence of their ignorance, their lack of sensitivity and their unscientific behavior, a whole nation was stigmatized. And still remains maligned, as proven by Donald Trump's alleged accusation.
According to Dr. Jean Ronald Cornelly Director of Oncology Program at the Ministry of Public Health and Population in Haiti cancer is a major health problem in Haiti. Women between the ages of 40 and 50 years have a bigger chance of dying from either cervical cancer and breast cancer than anything else.
Eske nou konnin plis fanm mou ak Kanser ke tout lot bagay an Ayiti. Anpil fanm Ayisyen ki mouri, se pa Djab ki pran yo, se souvan yon kanser ki fini ak moun sa yo.
On 4th February, 2015, Dr. Jean Ronald Cornelly, the Director of Oncology Program at the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) has said that cancer, like globally, is a serious health threat in Haiti that needs immediate attention. Most of the cancer cases in women are cervical and breast cancers and commonly, it becomes life threatening between 40 and 50 years of age. Dr. Jean Cornelly while addressing on the World Cancer Day, has reminded that with cancer, Haiti has one of the highest incidence and mortality rate in the world, because we are not well equipped to diagnose the disease at the early stage and neither have we had structured program nor good treatment for the malady. He cited one recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) which suggests that as per regional statistics on the Latin American and Caribbean zone, Haiti has the highest incidence of this deadly disease. Out of 100,000 cases, 93.2 women suffer from cervical cancer and of that, 53.2 women dies from it. Dr Vincent De Gennaro, the Head of Internal Medicine for the project Medishare, has explained that the reason for such high mortality rate is that 80% of the patients never report until the disease is at an advanced stage.
In a new study that fails to tell Haitians anything they didn't already know about their flailing health care system, the Henry Ford Hospital stated that, to bridge the barriers existing in health care and culture, greater mobilized medical care needs to be implemented. While it says nothing new, the study highlights the health care problems faced by the Haitian population, especially after the 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and left millions homeless.
What it did provide that might not yet be widely documented are some alarming percentages that show the true dire state of the Haitian health care system. Half of those surveyed said they have either contracted malaria, or knew someone who had. Slightly more, at 58%, have never heard of the infectious mosquito transmitted disease that manifests with a high fever and headache, dengue. 30% named fever as their main medical complaint and 76% feel unable to help loved ones who take ill. Perhaps more alarming is that 69% put no faith in Western medicine, believing that traditional Haitian techniques are more potent in treating their illnesses. It is perhaps why 79% name their religious leader as the primary source of their medical information.
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