A University of Delaware student will travel to Haiti this year to survey how the health care system there responded to the devastating earthquake in January.
A University of Delaware student will return to Haiti this year to retrace the steps of people who fled Port-au-Prince after the earthquake in January. From WHYY’s health and science desk Kerry Grens reports the visits are part of research on disaster response:
In January Jennifer Santos traveled to border towns in the Dominican Republic that saw a surge of Haitians seeking food, water and medical help. Santos said she was struck by the complex relationship that developed between make-shift medical centers and those that were already established.
Santos will return twice this fall to survey how the groups have adapted to one another in the shared response to the earthquake. Part of the visits will retrace the steps victims took from Port-au-Prince in Haiti to Jimani in the Dominican Republic.
Santos: I basically want to see what is it the people were going through, the route they were taking from Port-au-Prince to Jimani and see if health organizations have emerged along that route because it’s basically a population displacement process.
Santos says the border towns are fascinating because of the traditional animosity between Haitians and Dominicans.
Santos: We’re talking about a region that has very tense political dynamics with Haitians trying to cross the border. But at the same time you also saw people that were interested and very committed to helping the people coming in to receive health services.
Santos received a grant from the University of Delaware to travel to Haiti and the Dominican.