The Republic of Haiti is the first independent nation in Latin America and the first black-led republic in the world since it gained its independence in 1804 after a successful slave-led rebellion. Since that time, Haiti has seen numerous incidents of political violence, most recently in 2004 when an armed rebellion overtook President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's control. Later, Rene Preval was elected president in a general election in 2006 in relatively peaceful elections. Presidential elections to be held on 28 November 2010 have once again made headlines throughout the world due to violent protests and riots from the local population..
Haiti, also known as Ayiti meaning the land of high mountainsmakes up part of the island of Hispaniola along with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is ranked as number 145 on the UNDP human development index with over 80% of the 9.8 million Haitians live on less than $ 2 per day and it can be assumed that this figure has increased since the earthquake in January 2010.Over 40% of the population is illiterate and life expectancy at birth is 61 years as compared to the Dominican Republic where life expectancy at birth is 73,7 years.
Before the earthquake there were 25 physicians and 11 nurses per 100,000 people and only one-fourth of births were attended to by a skilled health professional. Most rural areas had no access to health care, making residents susceptible to otherwise treatable diseases .
The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, 2010, was the worst natural disaster in the history of the country. The Presidential palace, Parliament and many other important structures were destroyed, along with countless homes and businesses, leaving many homeless. According to official statistics from Haiti's Civil Protection Department, the tragedy killed well over 200,000 people, causing approximately 300,000 injuries and displacing more than 1.5 millions Haitians who are currently spread across 1,191 sites.
Vector Borne Diseases presented a serious health risk to survivors of the Haiti earthquake disaster, including the risk of epidemics of Dengue Fever and Malaria in the affected areas. Epidemic preparedness and response planning were imperative to minimise the risk and impact of these two very important communicable diseases and to ensure effective protective and curative services are available to those most at risk.