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The health system “on the verge of collapse” in Haiti, warns UNICEF

Photo: Clarens Siffroy Archives Agence France-Presse People flee their neighborhoods after armed gangs terrorized the Delmas 24 and Solino areas on the night of May 1, in Port-au-Prince.

France Media Agency to the United Nations

Published yesterday at 2:58 p.m.

  • Americas

The health system is “on the brink of collapse” in Haiti, a country strangled by gang violence, UNICEF warned on Wednesday as the highly anticipated deployment of an international security mission seems close.

“Haiti's health system is on the verge of collapse. The combination of violence, mass displacement, dangerous epidemics and rising malnutrition has strained the health system, but supply chain strangulation could break it,” warned in a press release the head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the country, Bruno Maes.

Six of the country's ten hospitals are “barely operational” and the escalation of violence in the capital Port-au-Prince continues to deprive “millions of children” of medical equipment and medicines, explains the UN agency.

While the international airport of Port-au-Prince has only just reopened after two and a half months of closure, all hospitals in the country are facing difficulties supply.

“Containers filled with essential goods were looted, as were numerous warehouses and pharmacies,” continues UNICEF, which specifies that hundreds of containers humanitarian aid (including medical equipment) are blocked in Port-au-Prince, paralyzed by the violence.

The displacement of tens of thousands of people who fled gang violence to reach the south of the country in particular is increasing the pressure on the health system in these areas, also underlines the press release, which notes that around 40% of medical staff have left the country due to insecurity.

Some 4.4 million inhabitants are in need of food assistance, of which 1.6 million face levels of acute food insecurity. And since the resurgence of cholera in October 2022, Haiti has recorded 82,000 suspected cases.

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“The arrival of the rainy season risks worsening the situation,” warns UNICEF.

In late February, gangs launched coordinated attacks on strategic sites in Port-au-Prince, saying they wanted to overthrow disputed Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The latter announced his resignation on March 11 and a presidential transitional council was officially sworn in in April.

Kenya is to shortly deploy police officers to Haiti, in part of a multinational mission supported by the UN, to help the country fight against insecurity.

A first contingent could be deployed this week, coinciding with a state visit by Kenyan President William Ruto to Washington.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116