By Soyeon Park
Hospitals in Haiti, especially those in the capital Port-au-Prince, are in danger of being nearly deserted due to violent riots against the government that started on the 7th of February. They are in short supply of medical professionals and, most critically, no patients are coming.
It has been two weeks since violent uprisings and protests took over Haiti. Demonstrators first went out to the streets on the second anniversary of President Jovenel Moise’s rule in an attempt to remove him from office they demanded that he resign.
The riots have caused tensions between the public and the police, these tensions have resulted in violence that has left 10 dead, officially, however demonstrators claim that over 50 people have died and countless more have been injured.
Due to the violence, the Canadian government evacuated 113 Canadian tourists from the country, and the US State Department labeled Haiti with “Level 4: Do Not Travel” to stop any Americans from flying to Haiti.
“The hospital has been besieged for nearly 10 days; we can’t get doctors through the demonstrators,” said Doctors Wislet Andre and Cadet Joseph, the only two staff left working in the State University Hospital of Haiti, “We don’t have any medicines, we don’t have any working equipment.
Most patients in the hospital have either died or fled after the riot began, and injured strikers are staying at their home because they can’t get through the all the teargas cobblestones and police to the hospital. According to the CNN report, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the State University Hospital is deserted, except for two patients. There are broken blood pressure reading machines and oxygen cylinders just lying on the ground.
Despite this protest over Moise’s alleged corruption and soaring inflation, the President refused to step down, but rather presented a couple of economy-stabilizing reform plans and offered a peaceful talk with the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant gave a public speech on Saturday, promising to crack down on government corruption and improve economic conditions. Moreover, he promised to get back the near $2 billion embezzled Petrocaribe fund, an aid programme offered by Venezuela to Caribbean States, in the discounted fuel revenue.
“Corruption is one of the biggest problems. We need to fight corruption,” said the Prime Minister in the address. “I promise to find where the Petrocaribe money went.”
In fact, this awful condition of Haitian hospitals has continued for several years. The patients had to purchase their own medicines, medical supplies, and treatment equipments, and bring them to the hospital to get treated by the doctors for the last two years.
Even though the hospitals were filled with patients before the turmoil, public health care was nearly just as dire and impoverished as now. So, even if the Haitian citizens accept the Prime Minister’s proposed reforms and patients return to the hospital, equipment and drug supplies will continue to fall short, and the atrocious state of the hospitals will remain.