Haiti

Haiti fuel crisis severely limits access to vital medical care

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  • A fuel shortage in Haiti is severely limiting access to vital medical care
  • MSF calls on stakeholders to take rapid measures to ensure fuel supply for health structures in the country

PORT-AU-PRINCE - A fuel shortage in Haiti in recent days is threatening access and continuity of medical care in the country. At the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trauma hospital in Tabarre, Port au Prince, we have been forced to limit patients and are only treating life-threatening emergencies. Many other medical structures, both private and public, have also had their services disrupted.

In light of the urgent needs, MSF calls on the various stakeholders to take rapid measures to facilitate the supply of fuel to health structures.

“Without fuel, we can’t run our hospital,” says Dr Kanouté Dialla, manager of the Tabarre hospital. “We are doing our best to maintain our activities by adapting them from day to day, but this situation is unsustainable. The hospital is the only centre in the country specialising in the treatment of severe burns.”

Due to the failing electricity network, MSF facilities use generators to run the various medical services, including the centre dedicated to treating severe burns. The current fuel shortage jeopardises our ability to operate.

The fuel shortage has also greatly affected the ability of our staff to reach the hospital, which impacts the standard of care at the trauma centre.

“Today, only 10 per cent of the staff is able to get to work,” says Dr Dialla. “We organise shuttles to transport our staff and ensure the minimum rotations necessary for the hospital to operate. This considerably increases the workload of the medical staff present. Such a situation is untenable.”

The MSF Emergency Centre in the Turgeau district of Port-au-Prince, which refers patients to Tabarre Hospital, has also been affected by the crisis. It is becoming increasingly difficult to refer patients who need hospital treatment.

“More than half of the patients received at Tabarre Hospital are transferred from Turgeau Emergency Centre,” says Désiré Kimanuka, head of the emergency centre. “If services are reduced, these patients may not receive the treatment they need.”

The fuel shortage is an additional challenge to an already complicated security situation. Due to the volatility of this context and significant medical needs, we continue to adapt our projects in order to maintain our healthcare services for the Haitian people.

MSF has worked in Haiti for over 30 years. Today, activities focus on responding to lifesaving medical emergencies for people affected by violence, burns, road accidents, sexual violence and maternity services. Recently, MSF has developed activities for displaced people in several areas of Port-au-Prince, and intervened in several healthcare structures, in particular those of Jérémie and Les Cayes, following a powerful earthquake which struck the south of the island on 14 August, 2021.