Since CDC research on lymphatic filariasis (LF) and soil intestinal helminthes (STHs) began in Leogane, Haiti in 1983, Hopital Sainte Croix-Leogane has become familiar to scientists and public health experts as an important and productive field site. Thus it was an especially welcome development when by 1999, the work done in Haiti could boast that it had not only contributed to the global knowledge base—particularly regarding lymphatic filariasis—but that the work had in fact borne tremendous fruit.
The newly burgeoning global campaign to eliminate lymphatic filariasis not only traced some of its genesis to the work in Haiti, but that campaign would benefit the very people of Leogane who had so graciously participated in research studies over the previous 15 years. When it was announced in 1999 that Hopital Sainte Croix would be a major recipient of 7-figure grants to both demonstrate Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in the Leogane community (a CDC grant), and assist the Haitian Government to begin to build toward a national campaign (a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to Notre Dame) Haiti's role as an important focus of work on LF was assured for the next decade.
While the work prior to 1999 was more basic in nature, efforts since 1999 have been significantly more operational; studying progress, problems and solutions associated with the campaign for LF elimination which have continued to highlight critical issues associated with both the elimination of LF and control of intestinal helminthes. Under the guidance of the Haitian Government and the World Health Organization / Pan American Health Organization, the local Sainte Croix hospital, together with Notre Dame, the CDC, and other partners, continues to make important contributions. With regard to these “Neglected Tropical Disease” (NTD) interventions, there is high promise that Haiti will continue to help delineate the most efficient, cost effective, least invasive approaches that maximize health, social and economic benefits for the affected communities in Haiti, and by extension those beyond and throughout the tropics.