On 6th Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake, TB Continues to Plague Island Nation

By Angie McPherson

January 12, 2016

Six years ago, hundreds of thousands of people died and millions were displaced after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the small island nation of Haiti. Immediately following the earthquake, humanitarian organizations from around the world rushed to provide medical support and other basic needs to the many injured or homeless citizens.

Picture of a Haitian earthquake victim

A Haitian boy receives treatment at a MINUSTAH logistics base. Photo by UNDP

Even with extensive relief efforts, and impressive global solidarity with Haiti, the country is still grappling with obstacles from the earthquake today.

One example of the continuing health aftershocks is the spread of tuberculosis (TB), an infectious bacterial disease that mainly impacts the lungs.

According to Dr. Eric Goosby, United Nations special envoy on tuberculosis, Haiti had the highest tuberculosis incidence in the Americas even before the earthquake and it’s estimated that nearly 40% of people with TB disease remain undiagnosed. There are also growing concerns about rising drug resistance in the area, which could slow the recovery of those healing from the disease.

In order to address the TB epidemic and other health risks in Haiti, fashion entrepreneur Kenneth Cole opened a clinic in 2012. “I’m not big on just sending checks—and if you do something, you do it in a way that’s bigger than just a check,” said Cole in an interview with Global Daily.

Kenneth Cole heath center supporters post for a photo outside of the facility. Photo courtesy Global Daily

Kenneth Cole Heath Center supporters post for a photo outside of the facility. Photo courtesy Global Daily

Since then, the company has continued to invest in health and local entrepreneurship, and has been a prime example of how businesses can help sustain real and positive change in recovering countries. However, more is needed in order to stop TB from continuing to infect people in Haiti and many other countries around the world.

Take Action Challenge

In November 2015, Global Daily travelled to Haiti to visit the health clinic and learn more about the company’s efforts. Get the full story on their site, share with your social networks, and help support Kenneth Cole’s efforts on the ground.

Lead photo of a pararescueman searching through demolished buildings in Port-au-Prince after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. Photo by U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.

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