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Utah Charity Group Expanding Haiti Ops Despite Civil Unrest

A U.S. doctor conducts an eye exam on a Haitian patient.

Utah County-based group Charity Vision is expanding operations in Haiti, supplying local doctors with resources to grow their practices. But working with Haitian local practices has an unusual struggle, as Doug Jackson, CharityVision's CEO and the son of its founder, explained.

“Haiti’s an interesting country in that the whole world has been helping Haiti," he said. "I’s unfortunate because it’s damaged the medical community quite a bit, because most everything in Haiti has just been free foreign doctors coming in and doing charity work. One of our focuses in working with the locals is to build them up. And when the doctors are coming nonstop trying to do free work, it undermines them.”

In addition to unexpectedly undermining local practices, many foreign doctors left due to current civil unrest, leaving gaps in the Haitian medical field. But Jackson contributed CharityVision’s continuance there to its focus on helping local doctors.

“We found the local doctors know the language and the culture and the pathology better than any foreign doctor would, are more than willing to help their own," he said. "It’s been a wonderful combination. Our program has not stopped because it’s the Haitians doing it. If we had to depend on bringing in foreign all the time, we would’ve been stopped a long time ago. It’s run by Haitians, Haitian doctors…It feels good to be able to be there and support them in getting up on their feet.”

Jackson spoke about what CharityVision focuses on in Haiti, and their plans for future expansion there.

“The vast majority of the blind in all the Carribean are in Haiti. They have an inordinate percentage of eye problems in that country. We’ve put in eye clinics and we’ve strategically placed them so they’re reachable to different parts of the country. We have one more clinic we want to put in the south side of the country at the end of the year, and we’d kind of have the entire island covered.”

More information about CharityVision can be found at charityvision.net.