Haiti: MSF condemns violent incursion at Tabarre hospital

MSF has suspended all activities at the hospital, while other medical programs in Haiti continue.

MSF doctors operate on a patient in Tabarre hospital in  Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Haiti 2021 © Pierre Fromentin/MSF

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, July 7, 2023Approximately 20 armed men violently entered the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Tabarre, Port-au-Prince, last night, forcibly removing a patient being treated for gunshot wounds from the operating room.

MSF strongly condemns this incursion, which demonstrates once again the unprecedented level of violence currently raging in Port-au-Prince. All trauma and burn care activities at the Tabarre hospital are currently suspended due to this incident.

The patient with gunshot wounds had arrived at the hospital on July 6, and was quickly admitted due to the severity of his injuries. While he was still in the operating room, two men arrived at the hospital, feigning a life-threatening emergency. When the hospital gate was opened, some twenty masked gunmen stormed into the hospital to seize the wounded patient, whom they then took with them.

"There is such contempt for human life among the conflicting parties, and such violence in Port-au-Prince, that even the vulnerable, sick and wounded are not spared,” said Mahaman Bachard Iro, head of MSF's programs in Haiti. “How are we, the health workers, supposed to be able to continue providing care in this environment? We must first understand what has happened and give our abused medical staff some respite, because these men threatened to kill them. To this end, we have decided to suspend our activities for the time being, in order to assess the conditions for a potential resumption."

A series of security incidents affecting MSF's medical teams call into question the organization's ability to continue to run medical programs in Port-au-Prince. The medical staff, who fight daily to save lives, are shocked by this violence and the contempt shown by these armed groups towards them. Elsewhere in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, MSF had to temporarily close the Drouillard hospital in April 2022, permanently closed the doors of its emergency center in Martissant in June 2021, and suspend its support for the Raoul Pierre Louis hospital in Carrefour in January 2023 for security reasons.

MSF once again calls on the various parties to the conflicts in Port-au-Prince to respect medical facilities so that they can continue to function. MSF remains determined to stand by the Haitian people, who are the primary victims of the serious deterioration in the country's security situation in recent years. Apart from the Tabarre hospital, MSF is continuing its other medical programs in Haiti.

About MSF in Haiti

In 2022, MSF teams in Haiti, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, carried out more than 4,600 surgeries, 34,200 emergency consultations and 17,800 mobile clinic consultations, treated 2,600 people with gunshot wounds, 370 people with burns and 2,300 people for sexual violence, and provided care during 700 births.