Two months post earthquake update – MSF interventions in Haiti
March 13, 2010
Two months after the January 12 earthquake, medical needs remain immense in Haiti and living conditions are extremely precarious. Although the phase of urgent life-saving medical care has passed there continues a critical emergency context, in which thousands of people need post-operative care, rehabilitative care and physiotherapy, as well as psychological counseling. The extremely difficult living conditions put stress on people who live in camps or who live in tents throughout the city and its surrounding areas. The rainy season has begun, adding to the horrific living conditions of many who still don’t have proper access to sanitation facilities, and augmenting their chances of contracting malaria. There is also insecurity in camps due to poor lighting facilities or poor security management, indicated partly by an increase in sexual violence cases.
Because it is crucial that patients be cared for until the end of their medical treatment, MSF has expanded its capacity to include specialized postoperative care—including plastic and micro-surgery, treatment for burn victims, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and psychological counseling. MSF is also focusing on primary health care, with out-patient departments in various locations in the city, and with secondary-level health care services, including for emergency obstetrics, intensive therapeutic care for malnourished children, and inpatient care for paediatrics and adults.
MSF also continues with its activities in water distribution, building of sanitation facilities such as latrines, and the distribution of tents, hygiene and cooking kits, and closely monitors the situation in the camps to inform or advocate to authorities about the unmet needs of the population.
Currently MSF has 348 international staff in Haiti working closely with over 3000 Haitian staff. With the expansion of services, the 26 MSF hospitals and health centres can accommodate 1346 patients. In the last two months, MSF teams have performed over 3700 surgeries, provided psychological counselling to over 22,000 people, and treated 54,789 patients. MSF teams have distributed over 18,000 non-food item kits (this includes: kitchen kits + hygiene kits + Jerry cans + blankets + plastic sheeting), and 10,500 tents.