Strengthening Health Information Systems to Support Post-Disaster Healthcare in Haiti

The occurrence of a natural disaster may seem to carry repercussions that are indiscriminate in nature; however, it is the vulnerable populations that suffer most during such events, and in the days, months and years that follow. In Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, the major earthquake that struck on 12 January 2010 had a devastating effect in the already limited infrastructure and social services. The fragile healthcare system was crippled at a time when services were most needed to respond to acute injuries and other health concerns.

Past experience from disaster response initiatives has demonstrated the importance of coordinating efforts to address immediate health needs, such as emergency medical care, water and food provision as well as longer-term health concerns. Electronic medical records (EMR) can be used to track patient care, manage drug supplies and medical material, carry out disease surveillance, and otherwise support the collection, storage, analysis, transmission and use of health information. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, these functions are critical to ensure that people in need receive appropriate and timely health care.

The purpose of this research project is twofold. First, it will help existing organizations implement interoperable health information systems (i.e. applications that are developed using open standards and architectures that allow data sharing across systems). Second, it will conduct operational-research and evaluation activities aimed at informing future post-disaster health responses. The project will build on IDRC's experience working through targeted support in postdisaster environments, and be led by organizations with established histories of working in Haiti.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

End Date

Sunday, June 30, 2013


18 months

IDRC Officer

Sinha, Chaitali

Total funding

CA$ 495,600


Haiti, North and Central America, South America


Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

Dr. Hamish Fraser


Partners in Health

Institution Country

United States

Institution Website