What We Do

The Cap Haitien Health Network was formed in 2008 by groups and individuals who are working to improve the health of the people in northern Haiti, especially those made vulnerable by poverty and instability. Haiti's health system, full of so many different actors, is beset by problems of coordination; we provide a space for coordination and mutual support.
The Network Support Team, which builds relationships among groups and individuals and moves resources between them, does not have a systematic vision for the health system in the region. Rather, we are a resource for others to use, especially the leaders of the public sector in the area in implementing their vision. We are flexible in our tasks, and our team is excited to find different and new ways to coordinate health activities in the region.

We provide an accessible place for our members to connect with each other by linking organizations with others who can help them meet their goals and needs. Our discussion board is used by organizations to post and respond to need, while we frequently receive emails and calls from member organizations with questions, with subjects like:
  • We want to register with the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP). Can you help us do this?
  • We have some patients who really need access to an X-ray--where should we refer them?
  • Do you have suggestions for places that might host a visiting team of two visiting surgeons from the United States for two weeks of education and clinical work?
  • This village needs financial and technical assistance with water purification--any suggestions on organizations that may help us?
  • We are looking to finance a new clinic in northern Haiti. Can you refer us to the relevant authorities to do so and help us think through our business plan?
The Network Support team exists to respond to these needs. We are excited to find new ways to connect and help our members, so let us know if you have any ideas. Our activities so far include:

max clinic
Each week we visit several organizations to determine their needs and think through possibilities for linking with other organizations in the area to reach their goals. These visits are often part of distribution trips to pick up and deliver supplies or to attend a meeting between organizations where our knowledge and connections might be handy to participants. Check out our blog for posts on these visits, with stories like these of how we help meet the needs of individuals, organizations, and health sector leaders:

We are having a meeting between our NGO and another NGO on the transfer of leadership of a basic clinic. Since we have not managed a clinic, we know we need to consult with other organizations in the area when we think about new programs and initiatives.
Having a person from the Network Support Team sitting in the meeting will be useful to bring up organizations and individuals that might be useful.

We are having the Network Support Team visit us to deliver some sodium chloride for use in our medical clinic, and we are going to give them some medications we have that are going to expire soon since we cannot possibly get through all of them. We continue to have a problem with some of our donors on ensuring that essential medications are delivered on-demand.  Perhaps the Network can help us think about other possibilities for ensuring that we do not have supply shortages

10.28.08 meeting
We also hold meetings to provide networking opportunities and create a place for health sector leaders to disseminate their vision with northern Haiti's active civil society. We have had several large meetings, attended by up to 70 people, with agendas like:

1. Welcome and Introductions
2. Reports by organizations on activities
3. Reminder about availability of Network Support Team
4. Presentations on referral resources
5. Presentation by Dr. Jasmin, MSSP Director Nord Department, on clinic registration with MSPP
6. Discussion of distribution opportunities and needs

Moving forward, we aim for concise meetings, and plan on giving more time for free-form networking, reducing the length of time for the planned agenda, if possible. We also plan on facilitating several networking events for individuals and groups interested in particular issues. For suggestions on making meetings more productive, please
contact us.

We procure supplies from health organizations' surplus and distribute them out as needed from our warehouse in Cap Haitien.  We also partner with donor organizations to distribute supplies in northern Haiti.  These generous donors include Direct Relief International, Americares, Project Cure, and the International Organization for Migration.

We maintain a
list of supplies which we generally have and a spreadsheet of our distributions, which includes a transparent history of our procurements and distributions (in the "Details" tab).  Between responding to member requests, reaching out to determine members' need, we are able to search for particular supplies in response to a Network member request and build efficiency in the health sector supply chain in northern Haiti.

The Cap Haitien region has many other capable organizations working hard to distribute health supplies throughout the region, and we recognize that our role is limited.  We do not prioritize certain health sector areas above others on our own; rather, we are a resource for a wide variety of health organizations to achieve greater efficiency. We do recognize, however, that certain episodes deserve particular attention; recent examples include the earthquake and cholera.  We follow the priorities of health sector leaders in the MSPP in determining areas that deserve special attentions.

We are an evolving organization, so please contact us with any feedback on how can change our agenda and activities to be more effective.