Haiti: Medical care severely affected by clashes in Cite Soleil

Pharmacy at the comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care in Port à Piment, Haiti. February 2023

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, November 17, 2023—The neighborhoods of Cité Soleil, a commune in the Haitian capital, are once again caught up in a resurgence of violence between rival armed groups. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has treated about 50 people wounded in Cité Soleil since November 13, while other medical services have been forced to close their doors following the violence.

MSF’s Cité Soleil emergency hospital is currently the only medical facility capable of treating patients in the area after the recent closure of the Fontaine hospital for an indefinite period. The Fontaine hospital is a private facility, not affiliated with MSF, that was caught in the middle of clashes on November 15. All the patients and staff of Fontaine hospital have now been transferred to other hospitals in Port-au-Prince, reducing access to medical care in Cité Soleil.

Once again, the population is paying a high price during these clashes between armed groups. Some of the residents are forced to leave their homes to seek shelter. Medical facilities can no longer function normally and sick people can no longer reach them, and risk being left behind. MSF reiterates its call to all armed parties to spare the population and respect hospitals and medical facilities, as well as those who work there and are treated there.
Mumuza Muhindo Musubao
MSF Head of Mission in Haiti

Pregnant women, among other patients, now find themselves in a perilous situation. MSF teams in Cité Soleil have most often referred pregnant women to Fontaine Hospital to give birth. Saint Damiens, a maternity centre in Port-au-Prince, also closed its doors in late October, mainly due to insecurity.

MSF was also forced to temporarily close its outpatient clinic and reduce its medical teams in Cité Soleil to limit the risks for staff, patients and structures during these episodes of particularly intense and indiscriminate violence. However, MSF’s Cité Soleil emergency hospital remains open to provide emergency services.

MSF is an international medical and humanitarian organisation that provides assistance to people in need, irrespective of their origin, religion, creed or political convictions. We have worked in Haiti since 1990, with major responses to disasters such as the 2010 earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreaks. We currently provide care for patients with traumatic injuries, burns or emergency medical conditions, care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, general health care and maternity care

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