Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

IJDH’s Newest Board Member Discusses Justice at Mount Holyoke College

Joia Mukherjee, IJDH’s newest board member and a long-time collaborator delivered a powerful commencement address at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The address is a must-read for anyone who cares about justice or healthcare, providing examples from Haiti, Kenya and more of how activism can change the world. Part of the transcript is below. Click HERE for the full text. Commencement Address 2016 May 15, 2016 Following is a transcript of the keynote speech by Joia Mukherjee, the chief medical officer for Partners In Health. Thank you, President Pasquerella, Chairperson Baumann. The faculty, the staff of Mount Holyoke College. And congratulations to my fellow honorary degree recipients. I am very delighted to be here with all of you. Most of all, congratulations to all of you, the class of 2016. [cheers] I am so proud to be one of your classmates! A […]

Fighting Back: After the Quake

By. Lisa Armstrong, Essence Magazine The moon was out, white and full the night the men came. It was one in the morning, still and quiet except for the chirping of the crickets. Andrela had never felt safe in this large, desolate field she and ten other families now called home. They set up tents only a month after the earthquake cracked and crumbled their homes. Survival hadn’t been easy for the 35-year-old single mother, who slept at the entrance to her tent to protect the eight children – five her own, plus a niece and two nephews who lost their mother to AIDS just days before the earthquake. It was the sound of someone tripping over a rope that awoke Andrela. Before she knew what was happening, a man had cut a hole in the back of the tent. […]

In Post-Earthquake Haiti, Activists Fight Violence Based on Gender and Sexuality

Our Observer Nathalie Margi spent four months in Port au Prince working with local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights groups. She brings us this account of the worrying state of LGBT rights in post-earthquake Haiti. In the unrelenting heat of Port-au-Prince, 30 LGBT youth and sex workers gathered under a large blue tent to talk about the impact of the January 12th earthquake on their daily lives. The tent stands in the place of what used to be the conference room of SEROvie, a grassroots Haitian organization working on HIV/AIDS prevention and the only institution in the country that addresses the needs of sexual minorities. SEROvie serves over 3,000 LGBT people and sex workers across five regions in Haiti. At the time of the disaster, the NGO was hosting its weekly support group meeting. Its office was destroyed […]

Health Care for Prisoners in Haiti

By John P. May, MD; Patrice Joseph, MD; Jean William Pape, MD; and Ingrid A. Binswanger, MD, MPH, Annals of Internal Medicine Abstract Prisoners have disproportionate health care needs. Meeting those needs in a prison environment is challenging, especially in resource-poor countries such as Haiti. Even so, prior to the January 2010 earthquake, local and international organizations in collaboration with the Haitian government had been making significant progress to provide for the health needs of prisoners. The effort screened and identified prisoners for infectious disease, initiated appropriate care and treatment, and prepared prisoners for release to the community. Not only is it possible to establish an adequate prison health care program in a resource-poor country, it is necessary. Without adequate management of prisoners’ health needs, especially infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis, disease burden increases. Infectious disease can spread […]

The Victim-Centered Approach

By Samantha Diamond, MPH Candidate Yale University Arriving in Hinche, I was struck by the sudden transition from rocky terrain to cobblestone streets.  The relative wealth made the prison conditions seem all the more inhumane.  After a military invasion in February 2004, the prison of Hinche was set on fire and pillaged. The government of Haiti began construction on a new prison in 2008. This prison was built to have 16 cells with 8 prisoners per cell. Though I had watched the New Media Advocacy Project’s video of the BAI’s Prison Project in the Hinche prison, I did not fully grasp the conditions until I felt the 115 degree heat and smelled the stench wafting out of a 20×20 foot cell with 67 men crammed inside.  With 6 square feet per person, the prison density is five times the Red […]

After the Earthquake: Battling AIDS in Haiti

by Joseph Young WASHINGTON — When Haitian Esther Boucicault first discovered she had contracted the HIV/AIDS virus, she was emotionally devastated. But soon her feelings of self pity gave way to action and she began a journey to stop the spread of the deadly disease. “I had to put a face to it,” said Boucicault. Put a face to it she did. Boucicault was the first person to go on Haitian TV and discussed what it was like living with HIV/AIDS. This was a bold move, particularity considering that Haiti still stigmatizes people with this disease. “They were very shocked,” said Boucicault. “They did not think that someone who had HIV/AIDS would announce this.” That was 16 years ago. Now, Boucicault is an HIV/AIDS activist who was among a Haitian delegation that descended on Capitol Hill Tuesday. The group lobbied […]

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