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Haiti

Political instability, conflicts, and natural disasters have led to Haiti becoming the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in Haiti since 1991. Our work in the country focuses on providing responses to social violence, healthcare exclusion, endemic/epidemic diseases and natural disasters

In 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the capital, Port-au-Prince, resulting in thousands of deaths, and leaving over 1 million people homeless. The health system never completely recovered and was only further weakened after the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016

In 2010, from January to October, MSF treated more than 358,000 people, performed more than 16,570 surgeries, and delivered more than 15,100 babies.

Primary Health Care 

Health needs are immense in Haiti. Quality healthcare is unaffordable for the majority so MSF has developed a range of free, specialised medical care at three hospitals in the capital, Port-au-Prince. 

Drouillard centre, close to Cité Soleil slum, is the only specialised centre in the country to focus on the treatment of severe burns – a widespread problem linked to the dire living conditions of destitute Haitians. Treatment includes surgery, dressings and pain management, as well as physiotherapy, psychological care and infection control. In one innovative technique, patients were treated with grafts of artificial skin. 

 

Drouillard Burn Hospital / Centre de Brûlés de Drouillard

Emergency Disease Response

In Martissant, the second-largest slum in the country, MSF manages an emergency healthcare centre which is open around the clock. MSF also organised water and sanitation activities in the slum to prevent the spread of cholera and eliminate Aedes mosquitoes, which carry the dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.

MSF staff treat cholera patients in both Martissant and CRUO, and support the Ministry of Health with epidemiological surveillance. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, a team also assisted with the second round of cholera vaccination in Port-à-Piment.  

Victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence 

Sexual violence is a neglected medical emergency and the number of cases is greatly underestimated in official statistics. An alarmingly high number of young people in Haiti, especially women and girls, experience sexual and gender-based violence, yet the services available are inadequate.

We provide emergency medical care to victims of sexual and gender-based violence and are working to improve the availability of services in this field and raise community awareness. We emphasise the need for victims to seek medical care within 72 hours of being attacked.

Abortions that are self-inflicted or performed by non-medical personnel have become more prevalent in Haiti, in part due to laws prohibiting the procedure and economic barriers preventing access to proper healthcare services. 

Centre de Référence en Urgence Obstétricale, Port-au-Prince

Trauma Care 

The Tabarre trauma hospital provides comprehensive treatment for victims of road accidents or gunshot wounds, including surgery and physiotherapy. These three facilities, built in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake, are container-based hospitals designed for only temporary use.

Efforts have been made over the years to improve specialised care in the country by training local interns in relevant medical specialities. We continue to respond to urgent needs wherever possible, but greater investment is required by the Haitian government and international donors to meet the growing demand.

Find out more about Haiti