Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) fully resumed medical services at Tabarre hospital in Port-au-Prince yesterday, after an armed intrusion in July caused us to suspend admissions in the trauma centre.
“We are pleased to resume all activities and be at the service of the public once again,” says Mumuza Muhindo, MSF head of mission in Haiti.
“The decision to suspend activities was difficult, given the vital role of this hospital in meeting medical needs in Port-au-Prince. But the decision to re-open was difficult as well: there is no place for violence or weapons inside a medical facility,” says Muhindo.
“What happened in July is absolutely unacceptable. We will not be able to work unless patients and health professionals are respected.”
Respect for health facilities, patients and staff is non-negotiable. The survival of the Tabarre hospital will depend on everyone abiding by this.Mumuza Muhindo, MSF head of mission in Haiti
The Tabarre hospital provides medical care and services for people with traumatic injuries or severe burns. It has a total of 75 beds and an emergency department, which received 2,000 people in 2022.
On the night of 6 July, 2023, more than 20 armed individuals forced their way into the hospital. They threatened MSF staff members with firearms and forced them to lie on the floor while they abducted a patient from the facility.
This armed intrusion led to the closure of the hospital on 7 July. The hospital’s burns and outpatient care departments reopened a few days later, but the hospital did not resume admissions for trauma patients until yesterday.
This is the latest example in a series of violent incidents that forced MSF to either close or temporarily suspend activities in several facilities in Port-au-Prince. In January, we were forced to end our support to the Raoul Pierre Louis Hospital, while another MSF hospital in Cité Soleil has suspended activities repeatedly due to frequent gunfire in the vicinity. It is now operating at reduced capacity.
“MSF is committed to Haiti and its people,” says Muhindo. “That is why we continue to have discussions with all stakeholders and armed groups, including law enforcement forces, to ensure that conditions allow us to continue our services and work safely in Tabarre.
“Our message to everyone carrying a weapon in Haiti is clear: respect for health facilities, patients and staff is non-negotiable. The survival of the Tabarre hospital will depend on everyone abiding by this.”
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 healthcare and maternity care.