Haiti

Providing medical services part of UN Police role in Haiti: Commander

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Along with its security and law-enforcement role, the Senegalese specialized United Nations police unit in Haiti continues to help civilian doctors provide medical services in some of the poorest areas of the capital, Port-au-Prince, its commander highlighted recently before ending his mission to the impoverished country.

Officers from the Formed Police Unit (FPU) provide free consultations, medicine and hot meals to people from Cite Militairé and Village Solidarité, the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said in a press release, adding that most of those receiving treatment are women and children.

"Since our arrival in Haiti, we initiated a policy of taking charge of medical services... officers must carry out development actions outside of their security activities. Thus they provide reinforcement to civilian doctors in offering consultations to the population," said the contingent commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Hassan Diouf.

The most common cases treated are children or adults suffering viral infections and those who have been involved in road accidents. Shooting victims also receive help. In addition, Senegalese officers working with charity organizations, distribute food to the poor three times a day, including inside orphanages.

Working closely with the Haitian National Police, FPU officers are also helping restore law and order in the violence-ridden country, through regular patrols and crowd control, efforts that along with the work of other UN and national units has improved security, said Lieutenant-Colonel Diouf.

"When I arrived in Haiti the security situation was bad but it is now very different," he said, voicing satisfaction with the work of the men under his command.

In particular, in recent months the mission has stepped up efforts to crack down on criminal gangs. Since the start of the year, more than 400 gang members have been arrested.

MINUSTAH is currently staffed with almost 9,000 uniformed personnel, including over 7,000 troops and 1,800 police, along with 444 international civilian personnel, 727 local civilian staff and 165 UN Volunteers.