After a series of natural disasters and ongoing political and economic crises, Haiti’s health care system remains precarious.
Our work in Haiti
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) responded to emergencies and maintained vital medical services during an extremely challenging year in Haiti.
Haiti: Violent clashes force temporary closure of MSF hospital in Cité Soleil
Nearly two years have passed since the earthquake hit Haiti in 2021, killing more than 2,000 people and injuring 12,000. But many communities are still reeling from the destruction. The earthquake destroyed tens of thousands of buildings and many health care facilities, including a maternal health clinic supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the town of Port-à-Piment, Sud department. The clinic was damaged beyond repair, leaving 250,00 people in the community without access to much-needed maternal health care.
What's happening in Haiti?
Political instability, the resurgence of cholera in 2022, a fuel crisis, recent earthquake, and chronic violence have pushed the health care system in Haiti to its limits as needs are on the rise.
A high level of chronic violence, including armed clashes, robberies, and kidnappings, affected people throughout the capital, Port-au-Prince. Entire neighborhoods were under the control of different armed groups, with shifting territories.
How we're helping in Haiti
At our trauma hospital in the city’s Tabarre neighborhood, we provided surgery and follow-up care for patients with life-threatening injuries from gunshots, stabbings, and traffic accidents. We sometimes received many wounded patients at once and temporarily expanded the hospital’s bed capacity.
In February, clashes between armed groups made it unsafe for us to continue working at our Drouillard hospital in Cité Soleil, the main facility for burns in the country. We closed all but the emergency department and moved our program and patients into the Tabarre hospital, effectively merging two hospitals into one.
In May, a staff member of our Tabarre hospital was attacked and shot dead on his way home from work, even though he did not resist his attackers.
In June, our emergency center in Martissant was targeted by gunfire after weeks of intense clashes between armed groups. It was the first time that our facility had come under such an attack in its 15-year history, and we decided to close it because we could not ensure the safety of our staff and patients.
In August, we opened a new emergency center in Turgeau, another district of Port-au-Prince, running similar services. In late 2021, we also started supporting the emergency room of a public hospital in Carrefour to improve access to care in the southern part of the capital.
As of August, an estimated 19,000 people had fled their homes due to armed clashes, and were staying with relatives or in poorly adapted collective sites, such as schools or churches. We offered medical care to people affected by violence and insecurity through mobile clinics in displacement sites and other locations, and we improved water and sanitation facilities.
We continued to run our comprehensive care program for survivors of gender-based violence and intimate-partner violence in our clinics in Port-au-Prince and Artibonite department. We also trained public hospital staff and worked with local organizations and communities to raise awareness of sexual violence and adolescent sexual health issues. Learn more about where your money goes and the impact of your support by reading our accountability reports.
Haiti earthquake response
On August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the south of the country, killing 2,248 people and injuring more than 12,700 others, and causing widespread damage to infrastructure. Hours later, a surgical team departed from our Tabarre hospital, reaching Hôpital Saint Antoine in Jérémie the following day. The hospital staff had started to clean wounds, set broken bones, and refer patients to the capital by air. Our team joined in the effort and provided orthopedic surgery and follow-up care for earthquake survivors over the next several months.
We referred some trauma patients who could not be treated locally to our Tabarre hospital and our newly opened emergency center in Turgeau and deployed teams to support other medical facilities in the affected areas.
In Les Cayes, we provided surgical and post-operative care to trauma patients at Hôpital Immaculée Conception. At OFATMA hospital, which was badly damaged by the earthquake, we temporarily supported staff to manage pediatric and neonatal care in tents. In Port-à-Piment, the earthquake severely damaged a public hospital where we have been delivering sexual and reproductive health care for years. We immediately relocated medical services—first into tents and then into our logistical base—to ensure continuity of care for pregnant women and newborns. In the following months, we started building a new maternity hospital in the community. In other areas of Sud and Nippes departments, we offered basic health care and mental health support through mobile clinics and distributed relief items, including emergency shelters and hygiene supplies. Because the health care system was already difficult to access, many patients came with issues and injuries unrelated to the earthquake, such as abdominal pain, gastritis, infections, and fever. In several communities where infrastructure was badly damaged, including Baradères, we delivered drinking water and repaired water networks.
In late October, armed groups held up deliveries of fuel from the capital’s main port, creating a widespread fuel shortage. The streets all but emptied of motor vehicles, making it difficult and costly for health staff and patients to get to health facilities. Many hospitals and health centers experienced the double blow of a staffing crisis and an electricity shortage, as fuel for generators ran low.
As we introduced emergency measures to decrease our energy consumption, we were forced to temporarily reduce medical activities at our hospital in Tabarre, treating only patients with life-threatening injuries. We quickly installed 84 solar panels to help power the hospital. By December, the fuel crisis had eased, and hospitals, including ours, were able to return to normal operations.
On December 14, we launched an emergency response to a mass-casualty incident in the northern town of Cap-Haïtien. People had gathered to collect leaking fuel from an overturned fuel truck when it exploded, causing many deaths and injuries. We airlifted some patients to our Tabarre hospital and treated others at Hôpital Universitaire Justinien in Cap-Haïtien. Learn how you can support lifesaving work.
How we're helping
Emergency room consultations
People treated for intentional physical violence
People treated for sexual violence
*Data from MSF International Activity Report 2021
More news and stories
How you can help
Not everyone can treat patients in the field. But everyone can do something.
Some humanitarian crises make the headlines—others don’t. Unrestricted support from our donors allows us to mobilize quickly and efficiently to provide lifesaving medical care to the people who need it most, whether those needs are in the spotlight or not. And your donation is 100 percent tax-deductible.