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MSF in Haiti, 2009
Field Staff: 849
Reason for Intervention:
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Political stability in Haiti, however weak, was achieved with the election of a new government in 2006. However, 2009 was characterised by rising food prices, chronic unemployment, and a dysfunctional healthcare system. Slum dwellers in the capital Port-au-Prince continued to live in deplorable conditions. Haiti has the highest level of maternal mortality in the western hemisphere (67 deaths for every 10,000 live births). Poverty, in combination with a mostly privatised healthcare system, has compromised maternal healthcare for women living in slum areas in Port-au-Prince.
In 2009, a surge in the number of births prompted MSF to move the maternity hospital in Port-au-Prince to a larger facility in the city. To avoid any duplication of public health services, MSF focussed on helping women who were experiencing complications, and transferred those with straightforward pregnancies to government-run centers in the city. MSF also managed antenatal care in three slum locations in the capital, carrying out 1,500 consultations a month. Since the emergency obstetric program was opened in 2006, more than 40,000 babies have been delivered, clearly indicating the huge need that exists for maternity care in the slums.
Emergency care and training
Nearly 10,000 patients were treated and more than 4,000 underwent surgery at MSF’s two trauma centers in Trinité and Pacot. In Martissant, teams carried out 97,000 consultations in MSF’s emergency center which deals primarily with injuries sustained during armed violence.
After a tropical storm and two hurricanes hit Haiti in August and September, MSF launched an emergency intervention in the town of Gonaïves and in several other regions.
In Canges, in the Central Plateau, MSF runs a program to train local medical staff. MSF trains nurses in anaesthesia and emergency maternal care. The training takes place at the hospital and each cycle takes nine months.
MSF has worked in Haiti since 1991.