Healthcare in Haiti under attack by armed gangs — OCHA

Healthcare in Haiti under attack by armed gangs — OCHA

The UN Humanitarian Coordination Office (OCHA) says hospitals in Haiti’s capital have come under increasing attack by armed gangs, with some being looted amid ongoing turmoil.

OCHA, in a statement, said two healthcare facilities in Port-au-Prince were forced to shut down, while two others remain closed in spite of plans to reopen after being shuttered due to rising violence.

Only La Paix University Hospital is operational in the capital area, and it has come under significant strain due to rising demand for services.

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The Delmas 18 Hospital and Saint Martin health centre were both looted on March 26 and 27.

PAHO, the UN-administered Pan American Health Organisation, is providing essential supplies such as medicines, fuel, and logistic assistance to keep services going.

According to OCHA, armed groups also targeted and raided 10 pharmacies in Haiti’s capital, severely hindering public access to medications.

The office stated that rising violence also affected the work of HIV and tuberculosis service sites, but local UNAIDS services are collaborating with Haiti’s Health Ministry, with HIV testing being prioritised.

Amid political vacuum, Haiti’s powerful gangs launched coordinated attacks on various targets since February, including police stations, prisons, airports, and seaports, resulting to resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry three weeks ago.

While a state of emergency is in effect, a transitional government has yet to be established.

On Tuesday, World Food Programme (WFP) distributed meals to over 28,000 people in the capital and last week, World Health Organisation, UNICEF and local partners carried out nearly 600 consultations in displacement sites.

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Meanwhile, responding to the critical needs of civilians impacted by the ongoing war in Sudan, WHO country teams and in neighbouring South Sudan teamed up to deliver supplies to the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains.

The ongoing crisis significantly impeded the ability of the WHO office in Sudan to access and deliver essential emergency medical supplies to the two regions, said WHO in a statement on Wednesday.

It added that by leveraging South Sudan office’s logistic expertise and available resources, emergency health kits have been prepositioned from existing stockpiles in areas along the Sudan-South Sudan border, ensuring timely and effective assistance to those in dire need.

The joint effort is a testament to the commitment of both offices to cross-border collaboration, and the inter-agency emergency health supplies are expected to serve approximately 830,000 people in the conflict-affected Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain areas in the next three months.

The shipment was the second that WHO South Sudan delivered across the border since the outbreak of brutal conflict between rival militaries nearly a year ago.

The dispatch of supplies is part of WHO’s continuous relief efforts in support of the Sudanese people, the agency said.

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