Surrounded By Instability, Care Continues at PIH Hospital in Haiti

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Babies are born, injuries are treated as patients brave gang violence to reach facility

Posted on April 10, 2023

Dr. Marc Werens, an emergency medicine physician, stands in the ER at Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) in Haiti. (All photos by Nadia Todres for PIH)

While gang violence and insecurity continue across many parts of Haiti, behind the doors of select hospitals and clinics, life goes on: Babies are born, wounds are tended, chronic illness is treated.

At facilities run by Zanmi Lasante [ZL], as Partners In Health is known in Haiti, teams have had to adjust to the kidnappings, fuel shortages, and general uncertainty through safety precautions such as shifting hours and schedules, relocating staff and patients, and restricting some facilities to basic triage. To avoid risky travel on dangerous roads, some staff have gone months without seeing family to stay closer to work. At certain sites, conversations between patients and doctors are interrupted by gunfire. Still, care continues.

Despite a situation described by one doctor as “practicing war medicine,” and, essentially, the worst violence the ZL team has seen in four decades, these medical professionals remain at work, tending to the sick, offering care, and accompanying their patients. Indeed, this is what solidarity looks like. This is ekip solid–a strong team.

Noel Hermitha, 38 years old, from Port-au-Prince gives birth via a C-section, her second child. Hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) in Mirebalais, Haiti, on March 23, 2023. (Photos by Nadia Todres for PIH)
Margarette St. Fort, 31, recovers in HUM’s postpartum department with her newborn. This is her third child. She walked from Thomonde to Mirebalais to give birth.
Orelus Odnel, 44, has fluid removed from his lungs due to complications from pneumonia, by Dr. Obed-Edson Lamy (center), an emergency medicine second-year resident, at HUM. 
HUM clinicians work together to remove the gallbladder of a 51-year-old woman from Port-au-Prince.
A view of the second floor hallway at Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais.
Rebecca Saint-Louis, an emergency medicine first year resident, examines Marianne Melissa, who was hit by a tap tap–a large vehicle used for public transportation–in Belladère and was brought by ambulance to Mirebalais.
Nurse Herline Dorlis (from left), Nurse Assistant Nadège Descartes, and Nurse Bertide Louis Jeune prepare for morning rounds in HUM’s emergency department. 

Originally published on pih.org

In Haiti, chaos continues to escalate as gang violence and fuel shortages threaten access to health care. Learn more about this ongoing situation >>

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