Connecting capabilities responsibly: a report of a student-run global health cooperation in mare-brignol, haiti

Rao, Shreya; Garbayo. MD. Ph.D, Luciana (2019). 'Connecting capabilities responsibly: a report of a student-run global health cooperation in Mare-Brignol, Haiti' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA 2019, London, UK.


Paternalism expressed in cooperative global health practices can inhibit the free development of a community to achieve valuable functioning. In order to avoid this scenario, efforts must be focused on encouraging the protagonism, self-sufficiency and sustainability of health policies and practices in the local community. This can be done by connecting capabilities of the foreign health workers and the community for achieving healthy functioning of its members. Such efforts require connecting the core capabilities of the foreign health workers and of the local community members towards a common goal. This type of close collaboration also creates an avenue for the capabilities-deprived community to exercise their internal capabilities for their own betterment. By giving the community a vital role in their own development through collaboration, the development of their capabilities is encouraged.   

International Medical Outreach (IMO) is a small, student-run non-profit that primarily focuses on the rural village of Mare-Brignol, Haiti. The citizens of Mare-Brignol only receive medical attention when IMO visits twice a year and sets up a mobile clinic. However, the primary mission of International Medical Outreach is to encourage sustainable development in Mare-Brignol, and this is done in close cooperation with the citizens of Mare-Brignol. There is a constant line of communication open between the leadership of the organisation and the community elders. The decisions made by IMO regarding the clinic and donations brought to Haiti are made in close collaboration with the community elders to ensure that these decisions are welcome and viable in Mare-Brignol. While this model of collaboration is still in its early stages in Mare-Brignol, it demonstrates the avenue for connecting capabilities globally with the common goal of sustainable development of functionings. This work-in-progress project provides a capabilities approach analysis of the cooperative global health practices being utilized by International Medical Outreach in Mare-Brignol, Haiti.

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