National Conference on Social Medicine in Haiti

Disease is interconnected with poverty, environment, the social and cultural aspects of health and the conditions in which people live. These social determinants are not only linked to health and illness, both shaping and influencing access and health care delivery, but also impact healthy equity. Extending access to health care to resource-poor communities requires a historical, cultural and social approach to medicine where underserved populations often lack access to basic social services including clean water, nutrition, education, housing and economic development opportunities.

In partnership with the Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie at Université d’Etat d’Haïti and the Groupe Promoteur de Medicine Sociale (GPMS), Partners In Health and its sister organization in Haiti Zanmi Lasante organized a National Conference on Social Medicine that took place in March 2012 at the Karibe Convention Center (Pétion-ville, Haïti). The National Conference on Social Medicine was an exciting opportunity for dialogue on the role of social medicine in health equity and improved access to healthcare for the broad population, and provided an interactive forum to exchange and share effective strategies education and training of medical professionals who address the health needs of populations living in resource-poor communities. Bringing together key stakeholders and experts in global health and development, the Conference helped to promote the exchange of views on approaches to build capacity of the public health system in resource limited settings, and develop innovative approaches to strengthening human resources for health.

Stephen Kahn of The Abundance Foundation spoke about Financing for Health, and Foundation partnered with presenting organizations and the Cine Institute to help produce and document the four-day event.