© Jeanty Junior Augustin


The healthcare system in Haiti is struggling to meet some of Haitians’ most basic medical needs

Political instability, conflicts and natural disasters have led Haiti to become the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

From an auspicious beginning as the first independent nation in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1804, Haiti has been plagued by political violence and natural disasters in the 21st Century.

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010, resulting in the deaths of between 46,000 and 316,000 people and 1.5 million left homeless.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first worked in Haiti in 1991. Our work in the country focuses on providing responses to social violence, healthcare exclusion, endemic/epidemic diseases and natural disasters.

In addition to its regular emergency response activities in Haiti, where quality healthcare is unaffordable for the majority, MSF has developed a range of free, specialised medical care at three hospitals in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The specialised care MSF provides at the hospitals it manages in Port-au-Prince benefits people who would otherwise be unable to access this level of service.

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MSF's work in Haiti: 2019

In 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to provide a range of specialist medical services in Haiti, from treatment for victims of sexual violence to advanced surgery and trauma care. 

Our teams in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and in the southwest are filling critical gaps in health services and helping to boost the capacity of the local health system. 


Trauma care 

Nap Kenbé hospital, located in the Port-au- Prince neighbourhood of Tabarre, provides specialist surgical care for victims of trauma. In 2018, our team admitted 1,370 patients and performed 3,240 major surgical procedures. As planned, the number of admissions was stabilised in 2018 in order to prepare for our withdrawal by June 2019. In December, we started discussions with the Ministry of Health regarding the handover of our activities to the Haitian authorities. 

Mother and child care 

In 2011, we started running the Centre de Référence des Urgences Obstétricales, a 176-bed hospital in Port-au-Prince for women with obstetric complications and newborns requiring specialist treatment. It closed in July, after offering care to a total of approximately 120,000 women and assisting Dr Jerry Dely, left, and the MSF team operate on a patient at Drouillard hopsital, Haiti, March 2018. © Scott Streble 37,000 births. We gradually decreased admissions leading up to our departure, while urging the Ministry of Health to fulfil its responsibilities towards women with pregnancy complications. 

© Shiho Fukada/Panos

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Burns treatment 

MSF’s 40-bed Drouillard hospital, near the Cité Soleil slum, is the only facility in Port-au-Prince where specialised care is available for patients with severe burns, a widespread problem linked to poor housing conditions. More than a quarter of our patients are children under five, and 90 per cent come straight to us without going to a non-specialist facility first. Services include surgery, wound dressing, physiotherapy and mental health support. In 2018, we completed the construction of a new hospital, with better facilities that will improve infection control, a major issue in burns treatment. We also started running training sessions on burns treatment for medical personnel in other Haitian health facilities. 



Victims of sexual and gender-based violence 

Sexual violence is an under-reported medical emergency and care for victims in Haiti remains inadequate. In Pran Men’m clinic, in Port-au-Prince’s Delmas 33 neighbourhood, we offer emergency care to victims of sexual and gender-based violence. 

Emergency care in Martissant slum 

In Martissant (Port-au-Prince), the MSF emergency and stabilisation centre provided first-line emergency care to 27,800 sick and injured people in 2018. Some were admitted for observation for a few days, but the majority were referred to more specialist facilities after stabilisation. 




Primary healthcare in Sud department 

In the southwest, we support the Ministry of Health in the delivery of primary healthcare, focusing on mother and child healthcare and water-borne diseases. We have worked in Port-à-Piment since October 2016, and in 2018 rehabilitated and started supporting two more health centres, in Côteaux and Chardonnières. In Port-à-Piment alone, our teams conducted more than 25,500 outpatient consultations, treated 2,180 emergency patients and assisted 624 births during the year, as well as running community health promotion and water and sanitation activities in the surrounding areas in order to prevent cholera outbreaks in this zone.

find out more in our international activity report >


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