Haiti, one year after the earthquake
Message from Dr Mirta Roses, director of the Pan American Health Organization, on the occasion of the first year of the Haiti 2010 earthquake
This week marks one year since Haiti's earthquake on 12 January 2010. I would like to take a moment to once again express my solidarity with the people of Haiti. The tragic losses of the Haitian people as a result of the earthquake have deeply moved all nations of the world. I convey our sincere condolences to all those affected by this tragic event.
This is a special opportunity to pay tribute to the health leadership and workers of Haiti. Health workers including the authorities at all levels were personally affected by the disaster, including some 300 who died during the quake. Other health workers lost family members and friends, and saw their homes and workplaces destroyed or damaged.
This does not surprise me. Health workers--paid and volunteers alike --perform miracles every day and often do so with very limited resources under trying conditions. In Haiti, health workers were already heroes, even before the earthquake.
During the past year, as Haiti has struggled to recover and rebuild, health workers have used their experience and resourcefulness to help lead the reconstruction while ensuring that Haitians continue to have access to care even where health facilities have not yet been rebuilt. They have led the fight against cholera as well as efforts to reduce maternal and infant mortality, prevent HIV, and address other ordinary daily health needs. Haiti's untiring health workers are an inspiration and the force that sustains the health services. They are the source of hope for the future strengthening of a public health system in Haiti that will make the Health for All a reality for the Haitian people.
To all Haitian health authorities, health personnel and community volunteers, to all humanitarian workers national and international that have worked and continue working in Haiti, we want to recognize you and to say "thanks" for your caring services and your commitment to the people.
To all those in Governments' agencies, public and private donors, individuals and organizations who have contributed funds and time inspired by their generosity and solidarity with Haiti, we say "thanks" for your trust and confidence.
Dr. Mirta Roses
January 12, 2011
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