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MSF in Haiti, 2008
Field Staff: 813
Reason for Intervention:
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As the security context continued to stabilize in the capital, MSF teams treated an average of 45 people with gunshot wounds each month at the Trinité trauma center. This is the only emergency room providing free care in Port-au-Prince.
After emergencies such as the food riots in April 2008 and the collapse of a school in Petionville in December 2008, most of the patients were brought to the Trinité emergency room. This facility offers internal fixation, an orthopedic technique that allows patients to recover much faster than is usual with traction.
MSF provides surgical care at the center. In 2008 more than 17,950 patients were treated, and more than 6,100 underwent surgical interventions.
Pacot rehabilitation center
MSF operates a physical rehabilitation center where patients in need of specialized postoperative treatment receive physiotherapy and psychological care. Here, more than 600 patients were hospitalized and more than 10,900 people were given orthopedic consultations.
Treatment for victims of sexual violence
MSF increased its capacity to treat victims of sexual violence in the capital, offering comprehensive psychological and medical care. The program treated 468 people in 2008, 51 per cent of whom were under 18 years old. Awareness campaigns in the shantytowns and city center continued, emphasizing that women need to receive treatment within 72 hours of an attack.
Jude Anne emergency obstetric hospital
Throughout 2008, MSF managed the 65-bed Jude Anne emergency obstetric hospital in Port-au-Prince. In addition to the hospital, MSF runs three mobile clinics in three slum areas offering antenatal, perinatal and postnatal care. The service provides emergency Cesarean sections, voluntary counseling, testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, care for those affected by sexual violence, and the referral of women with uncomplicated deliveries to other hospitals.
By the end of December 2008, more than 14,700 babies had been born at this hospital. The average number of deliveries per month is 1,000, half of which involve complications. The hospital also provides a newborn care unit, where an average of 90 babies a month are admitted to be stabilized before being transferred to the general hospital in Port-au-Prince.
Martissant emergency rooms and mobile clinics
Since December 2006, MSF has worked in the slum of Martissant, in Port-au-Prince, to assist a population that is heavily affected by armed violence. The medical team has an emergency room where patients are stabilized, and refers those in need of surgery to other hospitals in the city. Until December 2007, mobile clinics offered first medical assistance in different parts of the slum, but now patients are coming directly to the clinic. In 2008 MSF teams received 25,445 patients – 16,942 of whom were trauma patients.
Emergency response after hurricanes
Following two tropical storms and two hurricanes that hit Haiti at the end of August and beginning of September, MSF launched an emergency intervention in the town of Gonaïves in the north of the Artibonites. MSF re-opened an 80-bed hospital in Gonaïves in cooperation with the Health and Population Ministry. This structure is the only one in the region that can respond to emergencies and provide obstetric and pediatric services. During the last three weeks of 2008, 675 patients were admitted to the emergency room and more than 110 deliveries and 50 surgical interventions were performed.
MSF has also distributed hygiene kits for 5,000 families (including plastic sheeting, soap and jerry cans) to help as many people as possible who had been left with nothing after the storms.
MSF mobile medical teams traveled by car, on horseback and on foot around Gonaïves and the surrounding isolated villages to provide assistance to the most vulnerable people staying in temporary shelters. In total MSF teams performed more than 3,500 consultations via this service.
MSF has worked in Haiti since 1991.