Date of Conferral
Aimee E. Ferraro
People living in rural Haiti lack access to basic health care services due to poverty. Rural poverty in Haiti particularly affects women's health because Haiti has had the highest maternal mortality and infant mortality rates in the Americas, in addition to some of the worst health statistics in the Western Hemisphere. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to cultivate a greater understanding of the poverty factors that affect access to health care services specifically among poor women living in rural Haiti. This study was based on the social ecological model for population health development, theorizing that a person's health is influenced by factors at multiple levels including intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, and public policy and community roles. The main research question in this study explored potential relationships between poverty and poor health among women in rural Haiti as it relates to health status and access to health care services. Using semi structured interviews and Moustakas's modified van Kaam 7 steps method for phenomenological analysis, I explored the poverty phenomenon and various aspects of the lived experiences of 12 poor women in rural Haiti. The research findings indicated that factors such as barriers to health care, alternative health care, and poor living conditions contributed to the way that the poverty phenomenon affects the health and lives of poor rural Haitian women. The social change implication for this study includes development of new programs in rural Haiti that improve access to basic health care services together with more accessible clinics and staff on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that will positively influence women's health outcomes and health status.