Hundreds injured and serious damage to medical facilities after Haiti earthquake
13 January 2010
MSF’s Trinité trauma center hospital, a 60-bed structure and one of the only free-of-charge surgical facilities in Port-au-Prince, was seriously damaged by the quake. Although difficult to confirm, hundreds are reported to be wounded while the Haitian capital is massively damaged. At the moment, MSF teams are trying to ensure the safety and continued care of patients admitted to Trinité hospital and to establish a capacity to respond to new patients. At its Maternité Solidarité hospital, a 75-bed emergency obstetrics facility also in the capital, pregnant women, new mothers and newborn children have been evacuated from the facility due to structural damage and as a precautionary measure. MSF also operates Martissant 25, a health center in the Martissant slum and its immediate surroundings. Communication systems such as mobile phone networks are not working and road access is severely hampered. MSF is deeply concerned for the safety of our patients and staff. Additional staff will be deployed to reinforce the existing MSF staff on the ground and to assess the emerging needs from the earthquake in the coming days. Ongoing MSF work in Haiti Maternité Solidarité, MSF's Emergency Obstetric Hospital in Port-au-Prince In March 2006, in response to the high levels of maternal mortality and ongoing conflict between armed groups, MSF opened an emergency obstetric hospital in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. Jude Anne Hospital aimed to assist women who have little access to emergency obstetric care, who live in the poorest neighbourhoods of the city and are thus most at risk. At the time MSF projected that it would handle 300 births a month. In September 2006, hospital teams delivered 1,300 babies, about one every half hour. This unexpected surge in births led the team to move to a new hospital structure in February 2009. The new hospital, called Maternité Solidarité, provides more space to improve the services and standard of care provided to women in need of emergency care. To identify pregnant mothers who are potentially at risk, a team of outreach workers regularly visits the slums of Port-au-Prince. They teach expectant mothers how to look for signs, such as bleeding or unusual headaches, that might require emergency care. They sing songs in Creole and play games to communicate their message to attentive audiences. Two mobile MSF clinics also visit the slums to offer antenatal care to expectant mothers in their own neighbourhoods. MSF also has a program to help prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child at birth by testing women for HIV and transferring them to a hospital that will provide medicine to protect the unborn baby. MSF offers psychosocial counselling to women as well as antenatal and postnatal care. Since opening the emergency obstetric program in Port-au-Prince, MSF has delivered over 40,000 babies. These figures clearly indicate a massive and ongoing need for emergency obstetric care for women living in the slums. MSF also has other hospitals in Port-au-Prince that provide different health care services. These include: Trinité Trauma Center and Pacot Rehabilitation Center MSF provides comprehensive trauma care at the Trinité Trauma Center and Pacot Rehabilitation Center in Port-au-Prince. In 2008, 17,950 patients were treated in the emergency room, and 6,196 underwent surgery. Trinité is the only functioning trauma center in Port-au-Prince. As the security situation continues to stabilize, MSF teams treat about 45 gunshot wounds a month. During food riots in April 2008 and following the collapse of a school in Petionville in December 2008, most of the patients were brought to the Trinité emergency room. This facility performs osteosynthesis, which allows patients suffering orthopedic injuries to recover much faster than with traction. MSF also operates the Pacot Rehabilitation Center where patients needing specialized post-operative treatment receive physiotherapy and psychological care. Some 634 patients were hospitalized here in 2008, and 10,971 people came for orthopedic consultations. In April 2005, MSF increased its capacity to treat victims of sexual violence in the capital, offering comprehensive psychological and medical treatment. The program treated 468 patients in 2008, half of them under 18. This component of the project was handed over to local hospitals working with Médecins du Monde in September 2009. Trinité Trauma Center and Pacot Rehabilitation Center are scheduled to be handed over to other stakeholders by the end of 2010. Martissant Emergency Room Since December 2006, MSF had worked in the slum of Martissant, in Port-au-Prince, to assist a population affected by violence and unable to access medical care elsewhere. The medical team has an emergency room where they stabilize the patients and refer those in need of surgery or hospitalization to other health facilities in the city. Until December 2007, mobile clinics provided primary medical care in different parts of the slum, but now patients come directly to the clinic. In 2009, MSF teams have been receiving an average of 8,000 patients in the emergency rooms every month.