Haiti: In Port-au-Prince, MSF transfers burn patients after violent clashes around its hospital

Transfer of burns patients

Avra Fialas/MSF

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, February 24, 2021—Violent clashes between gang members took place on February 23 around a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) burn care hospital in the neighborhood of Drouillard, Port-au -Prince, forcing the staff to transfer the 21 hospital patients to another MSF hospital, located in the city's Tabarre neighborhood, once calm returned.

Gunfire in the immediate vicinity of the Drouillard hospital forced patients and caregivers to seek shelter within the hospital grounds on February 23. MSF had already transferred outpatient services for burns patients to the Tabarre hospital on February 13, following a first wave of violence in Drouillard on February 8 and 10. Only the emergency department of the Drouillard hospital remains open, with reduced capacity and limited to the reception of patients in life-threatening emergencies.

"The situation around our hospital in Drouillard has deteriorated, for patients and for staff," said Aline Serin, MSF head of mission in Haiti. "Faced with the recurrence of this violence, we have decided to move patients from our burn center and outpatient services to our trauma hospital in Tabarre, in order to ensure the protection of staff, the safety of our patients and continuity of their care."

The MSF hospital in Drouillard is the only specialized center in the country to focus on the treatment of severe burns.

"We regret having to transfer these patients because our hospital in Tabarre is already very busy with patients suffering from traumatic injuries, but at this time it's not possible to safely continue our burn care activities in Drouillard," said Dr. Alain Ngamba, MSF medical coordinator in Haiti.

In this context of chronic violence, MSF calls for respect for health facilities so that patients and staff can access them.