Before January 12, 2010, the rehabilitation network was very underdeveloped in Haiti, with just a few professionals working in the sector. Change came with the earthquake which hit the country almost ten years ago.
Humanitarian workers arrived in massive numbers from all four corners of the world, assisting the 300,000 people injured in the earthquake. Given that other natural disasters were likely to occur in the future, Humanity & Inclusion (then Handicap International) started looking for a more sustainable solution. In 2012, Humanity & Inclusion’s team collaborated with the Don Bosco University in El Salvador to develop two training courses: one 2-year course for rehabilitation technicians and another 2.5-year course for orthopedic technicians.
Guetchly-Nise Alcime was one of the first students to sign up. “I was working as a nurse,” she recalls. “After the 12th of January, there were a lot of healthcare professionals, including nurses, in the country. But the rehabilitation sector was only just starting to develop. There were lots of job opportunities, so when I heard about the training course, I signed up.” Guetchly-Nise now works in a rehabilitation center in Port-au-Prince, providing support for amputees who have phantom pain.
Mario Pasquet also took a rehabilitation technician training course run by Humanity & Inclusion. After obtaining his diploma, along with other former students, he created ASHATP—the Haitian Association of Physical Therapy Technicians. “We wanted to promote rehabilitation and our work with people with injuries and/or disabilities,” he explains. “We run awareness-raising campaigns against the stigmatization of disability and support rehabilitation technicians looking for jobs.”
“Thanks to Humanity & Inclusion, we now have enough rehabilitation technicians to work in the field,” adds Mario Pasquet, the President of ASHATP. “Rehabilitation in Haiti has taken a huge step forward. People have a better understanding of what physical therapy is and know that there are centers they can go to if they need. Port-au-Prince now has two universities where students can study physical therapy. There are also organizations like ASHATP which defend the sector’s interests at a national level to obtain greater recognition.”
For Humanity & Inclusion, it’s inspiring for us to see the progress made in Haiti's rehabilitation sector over the past decade. We encourage the Ministry of Health to continue with this work and to include rehabilitation in its healthcare policy systematically.
Haiti's 2010 earthquake
On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing 230,000 people and injuring more than 300,000 others.
In the wake of the disaster, Humanity & Inclusion ramped up its operations, and mobilized about 600 people who deployed unprecedented levels of resources and assistance.
Humanity & Inclusion's impact, by the numbers:
- 90,000 people with rehabilitation care (click here to watch Christella's story!)
- 25,000 people with psychosocial support
- 1,400 people with orthopedic braces or artificial limbs (click here to watch a video of Moise!)
- 5,000+ wheelchairs, crutches and walking frames to people with disabilities
- 1,050 shelters for extremely vulnerable families
- 20,000+ tons of aid for people affected by the disaster
Today, we’re still helping Haitians with disabilities stand tall.
Donate to support our ongoing work.
NOTE: until Jan 2018, Humanity & Inclusion was known as Handicap International.