Deadly diseases have been an issue in developing countries for centuries. Although, their impact has historically decreased, disease affiliated death rates remain high in many places. One of the most affected regions is Haiti, where diseases, such as cholera, have been the leading causes for health related deaths. This matter has been an issue to children especially, as their immune systems are more fragile. According to an article published by Unicef, titled “Child Alert: Haiti”, a child is more likely to die between the ages of one and four in Haiti while one out of fourteen infants in Haiti never make it to their first birthday.
As stated in the article titled, On the probability of extinction of the Haiti cholera epidemic, by, Enrico Bertuzzo, Flavio Finger, Lorenzo Mari, Marino Gatto, and Andrea Rinaldo states, “The largest cholera epidemic ever recorded during the current pandemic wave is striking Haiti” (2014). This issue connects to political aspects and a failing economy. Haiti’s high death rate caused by cholera and other issues concerning health are exacerbated by frequent natural disasters and its corrupt government’s lack of stability. As the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti’s safety is dependent on help from the outside. Understanding the role in which diseases play in Haiti, could lead to a much more sustainable future for children.
That is why this research will address the how Non-Governmental Organizations’ efforts to halt and slow down the spreading of diseases in Haiti affect children.
Haiti, or Ayiti (land of high mountains), is a country which is a part of the Hispaniola island in the Caribbean. Its land was originally inhabited by the native group called the Taino, who were known to be very peaceful. In the year 1492, when Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the new world, the island of Hispaniola fell victim. The Spaniards began enslaving the Tainos while forcefully taking over their land. Along with their settlements, they brought diseases, such as, smallpox and cholera. It wasn’t until the death of most of the Taino population, when Spaniards started to feel sympathy for the indigenous people. In order to find solace for the remaining Tainos, the Spaniards began to import African slaves to fill in their place. With the work of slaves, the Spaniards discovered gold in the land which they occupied in the seventeenth century. This attracted the attention of French pirates, who then began to settle on the island. Eventually, Hispaniola divided into two regions which we now know recognize as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
As European influences took over, slave trade became a popular commodity. For each settler in Haiti, was the ownership of ten slaves and as the death of a third of the African population died off, much more were brought into the country. This was the beginning of the creation of the Haitian people through cultural assimilation.
After the end of the French revolution, slavery was finally abolished in Haiti which then created resistance groups. This eventually led to the first black republic in history to be born who made their mission to tortue all whites. As a result, France demanded a high compensation for the loss of its people. To avoid another French revolution, Haiti had to accept their terms and began to pay off their debts. This lasted until the end of World War 2. The outcome was destructive to the Haitian economy and over the course of a century, Haiti went from a wealthy country to becoming the poorest they had been yet.
In 1957, after the United States had withdrawn from their occupation in Haiti, the new regime of Papa Doc had risen to power. This launched the downfall of Haiti. As a violent leader, Doc used his militia to murder his political opponents and reign over the Haitian people for thirty years, killing over 30,000 Haitians. The country was then looted and robbed of its academic resources. Following his death in 1971, his nineteen-year-old son, Baby Doc, became the president of Haiti. After being overthrown in 1986, Baby Doc took the majority of the country’s riches with him. It was not until 1990 where the first democratic election was held, however, after the priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was elected, the military instigated a coup and the struggle for power continued. The economy was then damaged even more as the U.S. and the United Nations imposed a two-year trade embargo. This led to social and political unrest from the Haitian people. As a result, peacekeeping troops were called in 2004 to stabilize the chaos. This halted the advancement for Haiti.
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