Since Dr. Jeff Losier founded MIJABA Bainet in 2012, one of his primary objectives has been improving healthcare access for families living in rural Haiti. From healthy pregnancies and infant care to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, there are countless opportunities to invest in medical and public health initiatives in the five villages where we work — Moreau, Moka, Source Benoit, Bonhomme, and Klosier. Historically, healthcare access in Haiti has varied widely — based on geography, income, and political stability. Generally speaking, urban dwellers in Haiti (like Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien) are closer to hospitals and other medical services than rural villagers who have to cross mountains and rivers by foot or moto to reach regional population centers with limited healthcare options. These physical barriers are then exacerbated by socioeconomic status and government fragility; during times of widespread gang violence and political corruption, the poorest Haitians have even less chance of accessing preventative and emergency medical care anywhere in the country. Lastly, lack of functioning government systems means that the healthcare system has no formal underlying structure or support, and cannot reliably pay medical staff, stock medications/blood, or ensure safe/sterile facilities.

Therefore, it is critical to partner with grassroots community efforts to improve access to medical services and ensure healthy lives for our partners in rural Haiti. Dr. Jeff has focused time, energy, and resources on several foundational priorities in the Bainet region over the last twelve years — setting up primary/preventative care in rural areas, securing emergency medical services with partner organizations, and responding to public health issues as they arise.


First, ensuring that all people living in the Bainet region of rural Haiti have access to primary medical care is fundamental — from immunizations to wellness checkups, access to regular basic medical care can detect and prevent more serious conditions. The leading causes of death in Haiti in 2019 were heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections, and neonatal conditions — all of which would likely be greatly reduced by regular contact with physicians, diagnostic tests, over-the-counter medications, and other foundational medical services. For many years, Dr. Jeff ran a primary clinic near Klosier and traveled to surrounding villages to do wellness checkups, treat basic injuries and illnesses, and refer villagers for more intensive care in Jacmel or Port au Prince if needed. He also partnered with Hopital Bernard Mevs and Project Medishare to have a traveling nurse visit the five villages in Bainet on a regular basis to provide primary care assessments, treat patients, and address childhood malnutrition issues. In the past few years, with changes in Haiti’s political situation and lack of healthcare infrastructure in rural Haiti, these interventions have become more rare — sustaining funds for rural medical services is difficult without a functioning government or consistent public safety. That is why it is more important than ever to support community-based health solutions and invest in their efforts with private funds.

Second, the villages we work with in rural Haiti lack reliable access to emergency medical services — acute injuries, birthing complications, infections, and other emergent health situations commonly occur without being able to transport a patient to a local clinic or hospital. Due to the rugged, un-maintenanced roads through the mountains of Bainet, transporting an injured or ill person by moto is often difficult or impossible, especially within a reasonable amount of time for their medical needs. That is why Dr. Jeff has collaborated closely with Haiti Air Ambulance — a non-profit medical organization that operates helicopter flights around the country to connect rural villages with emergency medical care in larger cities. Transporting a patient via moto to Jacmel or Port au Prince takes hours — the same emergency helicopter flight lasts just over ten minutes. This has been a life-saving partnership, but does come with a cost — helicopter flights are expensive to operate, and many rural dwellers cannot afford to pay for air ambulance services or the subsequent hospital care in Jacmel or Port au Prince. Therefore, it is critical to raise additional private funds to subsidize the cost of this care for our partner villages, and to widely promote the benefits of Haiti Air Ambulance (the organization’s own fundraising allows them to offer reduced cost or free care whenever possible). The existence of this type of emergency medical service is critical for bridging gaps in the short term, but must be balanced with the creation of local emergency services in regional cities and rural communities to ensure all Haitians can receive affordable and fast medical care in emergency situations.

Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!