• Haiti
  • Bolivia
  • Peru
  • Future Projects

Since 2006, members of IHC have visited Haiti on many different occasions. For seven of those visits, public health and medical students from South Florida provided health education and primary care services. Listed below, are some of our recurring projects and most significant activities.

Orphanage Support

Orphanage Rose " Mina" de Diegue, located in the suburb of Petion Ville in Port-au-Prince, is home for over 90 kids, ranging in ages from newborn to 17 years. Prior to help from IHC, only two employees, working 24/7 for $60/month, served the needs of the children. The orphanage lacked running water, electricity, and only had four bedrooms and two toilets on site. Some newborns and young children were affected by malnutrition, parasites, and congenital malformations. In these conditions, food, hygiene, and health care were very limited.

Since our intervention at the orphanage, we have been able to increase staffing and improve facility conditions. Children are provided with regular basic health care, and as a result have shown vast improvements in the reduction of malnutrition, infectious disease, and parasites. IHC has also been able to negotiate medical referrals for three children to receive surgeries at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and the US Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort.

Regular services provided by IHC:

Primary Care Clinics, Public Health Education, and Health Research

  • IHC has treated approximately 1,500 patients at 22 clinics in 8 locations throughout Haiti. This work has built a foundation for IHC's current plan to open permanent clinics staffed by Haitian health professionals in collaboration with IHC in Carrefour and Zanglais.
  • Services provided include: Primary care, public health education, public health research, surgery referral, and delivery of donations to schools, orphanages, and patients.
  • Providing referral for surgery to US for severe cases of deformities

  • Through the basic health care provided by IHC, a 17 year old girl was able to gain referral to a US Navy ship for surgery to remove a benign facial tumor that had begun to impair her vision.
  • Two children were referred to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida where doctors
  • Promoting professional/academic collaboration

  • Members of IHC are working closely to collaborate with the Haitian Public Health Association and Quisqueya University in the development of culturally relevant public health promotion programs (hygiene, drinking water, cholera, and chronic disease self-management) and the design of research studies. Health promotion materials in Creole are available for download here.
  • IHC also assists the only NGO in Port-au-Prince's Industrial Park, CPFO (Centre de Promotion des Fammes Ouvriere) which has been providing health care, educational, social and legal services for more than 25 years. Workers in the Industrial Park earn less than $4/day, with nearly half of that being spent on transportation to and from the workplace.
  • January 2010 Earthquake

    Immediately following the earthquake, on January 12th, 2010, IHC flew to Haiti to provide relief. During the week that followed, members of IHC provided medical relief to those injured and living in roadside camps. Watch our video documenting our activities and the situation.

    IHC's work in Bolivia began in early 2010. The immediate aims are to develop public health programs and teams of Community Health Workers (CHWs) for the Province of Caranavi. Additionally, thanks to the generous donation of 3 hectares of land by the local government of Carnavi, IHC is currently planning to construct a primary health care clinic and addiction rehabilitation facility to serve the residents of this area.

    A Health Needs Assessment has been developed by IHC to identify the most prevalent issues in Caranavi. This Needs Assessment can be found here in English and here in Spanish. The next step is to develop a Gap Analysis and Risk Assessment report to identify environmental factors and determinants of health that may further influence the current situation in Caranavi. We are working in cooperation with other non-governmental agencies (NGO's) and the local government to create culturally sensitive educational and prevention programs to improve the health in Caranavi.

    Caranavi is one of the biggest municipalities in the northern region and is centrally located facilitating the reach to other remotely located provinces The indigenous population in Bolivia is marginalized and lacks access to health care and basic services. Only 26% of the population is covered by the national health insurance system, and over half the population practices traditional medicine. The private sector meets only 5 to 10% of the demand for services, which means that the remaining 70% of the population must be covered by the public sector.

    Access to quality healthcare is one of the priorities for Caranavi residents. There are several barriers that impede effective care: 1) medical inaccessibility, 2) limited number of healthcare workers, 3) limited government services and affordability. The distribution of healthcare workers in Caranavi compared to the rest of the provinces is alarming. According to the 2001 national census, Caranavi had only 1 doctor and 1 nurse assistant per 10,000 people compared to 4 doctor and 2 registered nurses per 10,000 in other provinces.

    Pneumonia, acute respiratory infections tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease are most prevalent in the rural municipalities from Bolivia. According to the World Health Organization, Bolivia ranks third in the Western hemisphere in tuberculosis cases. Caranavi had one of the highest rates in the country with 254 cases, per 1,000 people in 2001. Caranavi is one of the two municipalities in the northern region of the country with continuous high rates of dengue (181.4 cases per 100,000 people). Furthermore, the incidence of Leishmaniasis in Caranavi is the highest in the nation,10 out of 100 people suffer from this disease. In addition, chronic malnutrition in children under 5 has remained at 27% nationally and 37% in rural areas, exceeding 40% in the most food-insecure municipalities. Stunting rates for the departments and specific provinces were unavailable, identifying one of the gaps in healthcare system.


    The program Q'ANCHAY QHALY KAY or "traveling towards brighter health future" in English was born thanks to years of communication and work relationship between the program coordinator and Marcacongan leaders living in Lima and Cusco.

    The Quechua- speaking village of Marcaconga is located 12 400 feet above sea level in Cusco, Peru. Mean temperatures vary between 50° and 14 °F. The name "Marcaconga" comes from the Quechua words "Marka" and "Kunka" which means "men of marked necks". Indeed, the inhabitants of this village are direct descendants of the last Inca lineage that rebelled against the Spaniards in 1780. Marcaconga counts with a great history, natural resources, and human power. However, the village is still impoverished and forgotten.

    Today, Marcacongans have a great potential to overcome adversity if given the appropriate resources. The active participation and commitment of Marcacongan leaders opened the village's doors to a group of Public Health students from Florida International University in 2010. On August 2010, Florida International University students collected data on disease prevalence, health utilization practices, and nutritional status of children. Educational workshops on nutrition, oral health, infectious respiratory diseases, and parasitic infections were also given. The results of the 2010 cross sectional study have given the foundations to design our intervention strategy.

    Health problems in Marcaconga

    Agriculture is the main economic activity. Malnourishment, contamination of water, improper garbage disposal, and scarcity of health services are the main problems that the community face. Malnourishment and stunting are highly prevalent. Marcaconga counts with sources of water (lakes, small rivers, etc) but only 61% of the population has access to water. Villagers contaminate water sources by littering and letting their animals defecate nearby. In addition, there is a latent threat that the community could lose part of its land and water resources to mining companies interested in getting established in the area.

    Respiratory diseases and parasitic diseases are prevalent in 73% and 36% of the population respectively. Malnutrition makes children easy prey of respiratory infections and parasitic diseases. Parasitic infections are spread because people do not boil the water they drink and live in close contact with cattle. In most cases, animals and owners share the same room. Few people have the habit to wash their hands after handling animals and before cooking or eating. The extreme cold weather and lack of heating systems discourages the practice of washing hands and bathing regularly. There is only one health care center which counts with one nurse, one midwife, and one technician. No physician has ever worked in Marcaconga even though the health center serves about 1454 people.

    Short-term goals

  • Promote culturally-sensitive health education on nutrition, diarrhea, infectious respiratory diseases, parasitic diseases, and water & environmental conservation
  • Gather and analyze epidemiological information on the prevalence of malnutrition, diarrhea, and infectious respiratory diseases
  • Empower and train community leaders by promoting knowledge exchange between students, health professionals who work in the area, health professional volunteers, and villagers
  • Long-term goals

  • Establish scholarly collaboration between our participating students and students from universities located in Cusco, Peru
  • Assist leaders in the construction and equipment of the Marcaconga Community Health Care Center in which MD interns can practice and get paid with the community's resources
  • Provide the foundations to extend the development Marcaconga in non-health related areas
  • Haiti

    IHC is moving to have a permanent presence in Haiti. With many patients presenting with chronic conditions, it is imperative to provide ongoing monitoring and consistent medical care. This spring will see IHC establish a clinic in Carrefour, to be staffed by a Haitian community nurse. By Spring 2013, IHC hopes to be constructing a clinic in Zanglais, in the south of Haiti.

    IHC is also moving forward with a focus on education. IHC would like to provide students the opportunity to complete internships and medical rotations in Haiti. To achieve this goal, we are in active discussions with local medical schools and health profession programs.


    Thanks to the generous donation of 3 hectares of land by the local government of Carnavi, IHC is currently planning to construct a primary health care clinic and addiction rehabilitation facility to serve the residents of this area. IHC is currently in talks with the local government to establish a timeline.


    IHC will continue to offer annual trips to the town of Maraconga to promote health education. As we learn more about the needs of the town and surrounding areas, we hope to begin providing primary care services. The next trip is planned for August 2012. Please visit our Student Experiences section under Get Involved to learn more and submit an application.

    Image Gallery

    img img img img img img

    Contact Us

    Address: 8396 SW 207th Street
    Miami, Fl 33189
    Telephone: 305.793.8887
    Connect: img