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Haiti - FLASH : MSF activities threatened by the blockade of ports and airports
22/05/2024 10:44:11

Haiti - FLASH : MSF activities threatened by the blockade of ports and airports
Since the end of February, Port-au-Prince has been plagued by unprecedented violence. Since the beginning of March, Haiti has been isolated from the outside world due to the closure of the airport and ports. The growing insecurity is seriously disrupting the medical activities of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has not been able to import medicines and medical equipment since mid-March. The Haitian health system is even more seriously impacted, leaving the population without access to essential care services. MSF is launching an urgent appeal to the armed groups involved in the fighting and to the authorities in charge of customs to facilitate the delivery of medical supplies to the civilian population who urgently need them.

"If we do not receive our medical supplies in the next two weeks, we will be forced to drastically reduce our operations," says Mumuza Muhindo Musubaho, Head of Mission for MSF. "With the influx of patients, but unfortunately, the enormous consumption of medications means that we are currently in short supply."

More than 30 medical centers and hospitals have closed their doors, including the largest, the Hospital of the State University of Haiti, due to acts of vandalism, looting or because they are located in unsafe areas. The closure of the airport and ports in February led to critical stock shortages for MSF medical facilities. Despite the recent reopening of Port-au-Prince airport, broader cooperation is needed to speed up customs procedures.

"In this emergency situation, customs procedures need to be more flexible, so that the medicines and other supplies can be delivered as quickly as possible," warns Mumuza Muhindo Musubaho. People suffering from chronic illnesses, such as tuberculosis and HIV, are at risk of worsening conditions due to lack of access to care and medication.

The MSF Carrefour hospital, opened in March in response to the upsurge in violence, illustrates these challenges. Initially boasting a six-month supply, the hospital's reserves quickly dwindled due to the increase in patient numbers. "In this context, everything becomes a challenge. Even buying paper for medical reports is a big problem these days,” explains Jean Baptiste Goasglas, MSF project coordinator. Between March and April 2024, MSF teams provided 9,025 outpatient consultations, treated 4,966 urgent cases, including 869 gunshot wounds and 742 road accident victims, and also admitted 99 patients seriously burned at Tabarre hospital, half of whom were children.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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