Progress against AIDS?

Haiti is renowned for its weak or non-existent institutions. Therefore it is both surprising and heartening to see the country making some progress against AIDS. In fact some of Haiti’s problems are being turned to its advantage, namely its large number of underemployed laborers, who are now being used to carry retrovirals to the desperately poor:

No program to treat people in the poorest countries has more intrigued experts than the one started in Haiti by Partners in Health – which has succeeded by enlisting help from hundreds among Haiti’s vast pool of unemployed and underemployed workers.

It is the rainy season now. So each morning and evening, 700 villagers strike out across dirt roads turned into a morass of mud and dung to deliver medicines to people with AIDS and tuberculosis. They tramp through muck and wade through streams on foot; a lucky few sit atop mules or donkeys.

Here is the full story. One leading participant noted:

“We didn’t do it to be a model program,” said Dr. Farmer, 44, a Harvard medical professor and anthropologist, who is also the subject of a recent book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” by Tracy Kidder. “We did it because people were croaking.”

Good news from Haiti is hard to come by, but here is another bit: Haitian artisans will have greater access to the web to sell their wares, visit this site, in addition to the brokers who sell through ebay. Haitian artisans, craftspersons, and artists are remarkably talented and hardworking, this is one of the few areas where Haitians can compete in world markets, this link shows one of my favorite Haitian voodoo flags, click on the hearts to see the larger image.