The Haitian Health Foundation (aka HHF) is a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides relief services to residents of rural southwest Haiti. It has four major areas of focus: health care, development, relief, and education.
The HHF is supported by contributions from private donors, USAID, other NGOs, in-kind donations, and volunteer services. Headquartered in Norwich, Connecticut, HHF's current president is Jeremiah J. Lowney, DDS, MS, MPH, KM, who also founded the organization. Its current executive director is E. Marilyn Lowney.
HHF began in 1982 with a trip to Port-au-Prince by Dr. Jeremiah J. Lowney, a Connecticut orthodontist, who traveled to Haiti to provide free dental care to the poor.
In 1985—after working for three years in Port-au-Prince and other areas of Haiti with Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity, Mother Teresa requested that Dr. Lowney move his small group's outreach to the rural city of Jérémie. This volunteer effort developed into outpatient health care, public health outreach to mountain villages, house and latrine construction for the poorest villagers, feeding facilities, education support, animal distribution, and other programs.
Haiti ranked 146th of 177 countries on the United Nations Development Programme 2007 Human Development Index; 76 percent of Haitians live with less than US$2 per day and 56 percent on less than US$1 per day, below the poverty line.
The stated mission of the foundation is to improve the health and well being of the poor, sick, and the infirm of the greater Jérémie area, with a focus on women and children.
HHF provides services to the rural poor within the city of Jérémie (population: 60,000) and to over 100 rural and mountain villages in the Grand'Anse Department of Haiti.
HHF operates an outpatient clinic (Klinik Pep Bondye-a), extensive public health outreach programs to over 100 rural and mountain villages, and a residential facility for women in high-risk pregnancies and children with Kwashiorkor malnutrition (Center of Hope). HHF periodically facilitates specialized surgeries (e.g., cleft lip) performed in Jérémie as well as other areas of Haiti. Children under the foundation's care are also brought to the US for specialized surgeries not available in Haiti.
HHF's maternal health program was featured on the PBS "NOW" program on January 29, 2010, in a story entitled "Saving Haiti's Mothers" (which was filmed in Haiti at the time of the January 12, 2010, earthquake).
Under its Happy House program—started in 1997—HHF provides housing for homeless and poor families residing in rickety hovels in rural southern Haiti.
Beginning in 1991, HHF has distributed thousands of animals to impoverished farming families, helping to provide some self-sufficiency. Thousands of Kreyol pigs and chickens have propagated as a result. Currently, HHF distributes female breeding goats with its Give a Goat program.
In 1993 HHF began constructing pit toilets under its Clean Latrine project, which encourages sanitation and helps to curtail the spread of disease related to lack of proper waste disposal.
HHF's Save a Family program began in 1987. The program, run by volunteers, links sponsors in the US, Europe, and Canada with some of the poorest families in Jérémie. The funding provides for food, rent, education for children, and other family needs.
Haitian Health Foundation operates an active food program, called Feed-a-Child, that provides hot meals and take-home food to the most malnourished in Jérémie and the rural mountains.
Separate from the Save-a-Family program, thousands of other children have been provided with elementary and secondary assistance through HHF's education-based programs. In addition, HHF constructed and fully supports the St. Pierre School (L'Ecole St. Pierre), a K-7 school in downtown Jérémie that educates 500 destitute children while at the same time serving them a nutritious meal every school day.
The Independent Charities Seal of Excellence is awarded to the members of Independent Charities of America that have, "upon rigorous independent review, been able to certify, document, and demonstrate on an annual basis that they meet the highest standards of public accountability, program effectiveness, and cost effectiveness."