January 21, 2010
Haiti 2010 © Julie Remy
The Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams in Port-au-Prince and beyond are still mainly occupied with treating and operating on those who were injured in the earthquake nine days ago. That has meant a continuing focus on their operating theatres in the larger MSF hospital structures in the capital. But there are new challenges being taken on, too, with the start of mobile clinics in the capital, of water provision, and of efforts to plan for post-operative care.
Haiti 2010 © Benoit Finck/MSF
With more than 900 patients having passed through MSF's surgical facilities and increasing numbers of patients with renal failure receiving life-saving dialysis, there is already a significant need for specialist care and also for long-term care, such as physiotherapy and psychological support.
At the same time, there has been an overall expansion of surgical provision in Haiti, as other medical organizations, including the military, have stepped up their work. Post-operative care will soon become very demanding and MSF is starting to organize post-operative care units.
“When you have so many injured people with deep wounds, open fractures, and crushed limbs, the more, and the faster, you can proceed, the better it is,” says Xavier Lassalle, one of MSF's specialist medical advisors. “But providing for these surgical and medical needs will take months, and usually many of these emergency surgical teams stay no more than a few weeks. Most of the wounded have infected wounds in their limbs and they will have to undergo several cleaning operations in theatre, then often orthopedic and reconstructive surgery. This requires post-operative care for several weeks.”
Outside of the city, MSF teams continue to push out into areas where medical care is lacking. Work has just started in Léogâne with surgery and general consultations, while mobile clinics have started to contact people in areas like Grand Goave and Duforf, where some 20 people needing major surgery have already been found.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)