Health conditions in Haiti are poor. There is a shortage of medical facilities, especially in rural areas. Levels of community sanitation are low. Infectious diseases spread quickly, because of improper housing and unsafe water. Many poor people suffer from malnutrition.
Did you know?

Although Haiti has a population of more than 7 million, there are only about 650 physicians in the country.

Almost half the health services in the country are provided by non-governmental agencies, such as the Red Cross, or religious organizations. Because most doctors live in Port-au-Prince, there is only one physician for every 30,000 people living in the rural areas. The nearest hospital is usually a day's journey for people who live far from the capital. These hospitals often do not have the most basic resources. Midwives often assist in rural births. Many of them receive training from the government.
About three children in twenty die before they reach their fifth birthday. Malnutrition among the rural poor is high. Tetanus, tuberculosis and malaria are common health problems. One of the most serious illnesses in Haiti is acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Life expectancy in Haiti is low: 47 years for men and 51 years for women. Many Haitians use traditional treatments to meet their health care needs. Herbal medicines are widely used, especially in rural areas. The cutting of forests has made some herbs harder to find. There are also herbal specialists known as doktč fey who provide massage and herbal treatments.
A number of Voodoo practitioners are also experts in herbal treatments. The men are known as houngan and the women as manbo. These experts are said to be able to diagnose illnesses and reveal the sources of other problems. Traditional practices have served well in combination with modern medicine. They are often used in cases where modern medicine is not available.

Did you know?

Haiti is home to the famous Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which trains medical specialists in tropical diseases.