Health Care Lags Still In Haiti

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 11, 2012: Haiti’s health care system remains mired in a state of devastation three years after the January 12, 2010earthquake.

That’s the word from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The group, continues to manage four hospitals, including one in Léogâne, that were built to replace temporary structures the organization set up immediately after the initial disaster, says it is unlikely that MSF will be able to hand over the management of these hospitals to Haitian authorities any time soon.

“The transition process is much too slow,” says Joan Arnan, MSF’s head of mission in Haiti. “That’s because Haitian institutions are weak, donors have not kept their promises, and the government and the international community have failed to set clear priorities.”

MSF says it goal is still to handover these activities to the Ministry of Public Health in Léogâne but the hospital is drawing increasing numbers of patients, some from as far away as Port-au-Prince—a clear indication of the profound lack of adequate care available.

“Most Haitians did not have access to medical care before January 12, 2010, whether this is because of the lack of available services or because they didn’t have enough money. We came in response to the catastrophe and intended to stay until reconstruction could get underway and the public health facilities could take over. Unfortunately, it’s been three years and almost nothing has changed in terms of access to care,” Arnan added.