In the mid-1980s, the Haitian government estimated that the average daily nutritional consumption level in the country was 1,901 calories per person, including 41.1 grams of protein. These figures represented 86 percent and 69 percent, respectively, of the World Health Organization's recommendations for adequate nutrition. In rural areas, the average person consumed about 1,300 calories, including 30 grams of protein per day. A national survey in 1978 showed that 77 percent of children in Haiti were malnourished. Anemia was also a common problem among children and women.
Infant and child health were poor. The infant mortality rate was 124 per 1,000 live births in 1983. A quarter of all registered deaths occurred among infants who were younger than one year old; half of all deaths occurred among children under five. Most of these deaths resulted from infectious diseases, especially diarrheal illnesses. Malnutrition and acute respiratory illness also presented serious problems for infants and children. For adults, malaria was among the more serious problems; some 85 percent of the population lived in malarial areas. Tuberculosis and parasitic infections continued to be serious health hazards, and typhoid fever was endemic. Poor sanitation contributed to poor health indicators. In 1984 less than 20 percent of the population had toilets or latrines. Only one-fourth of the rural population had access to potable water. Life expectancy at birth was forty-eight years in 1983, and the general mortality rate was 17 per 1,000 population.
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