The Present State of Haitian Fertility and the International Response

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Photo: Johns Hopkins Public Health

By Meghan Pierce, Undergraduate Research Assistant

The right of the individual to decide how many children to have and when to have them has consistently been the guiding principle in international reproductive health standards, according to the World Health Organization.  Since 2010, Haiti’s rising annual birth rate has been increasingly referred to as a “fertility crisis” by international population demographers.

Haiti’s population is expected to reach 15.7 million by 2050, targeting the need for a reproductive health program to decrease the total fertility rate, currently 3.9 children per woman. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, an influx of international aid arrived to Haiti, with specific funds allocated for family planning initiatives, prioritized because of the ballooning population and dwindling natural resources. However, like many aid programs in Haiti, the funds have been poorly allocated and inefficiently managed. Since 2010, Haiti has been experiencing a “baby boom” in urban areas like Port-au-Prince, due in part to the destruction of infrastructure that once included clinics with contraceptive supplies and counseling. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the Haitian fertility rate has tripled since the disaster.

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