Mental health work alongside health care at the Haiti floods

Alongside basic health care, the MSF team in Gonaives, Haiti, has started treating mental health issues, working with survivors of the recent floods where over 1,500 people are known to have died and some 200,000 people have been left homeless and in need aid.

"Most people who come to our health center have lost everything," explains Ilse Casteels, MSF psychologist in Gonaives. "Sometimes, they have lost members of their family. Many have lost their home and their job. Others have great difficulties to find some food. This creates a lot of dispair."

On Monday (September 27), MSF conducted more than 200 consultations at the Raboteau health centre. Most patients suffer from cut wounds due to their walking barefoot in the mud or still waters without seeing the obstacles. These wounds are usually quite severe or infected.

Other medical problems, such as skin diseases, respiratory infections and diahrea, are linked to the drinking of bad water, insufficient food and the sun. The risk of malaria or typhoid fever is still high, although no case has been confirmed yet.

The total MSF staff in Gonaives is now 27 people, including five doctors, four nurses, and three psychologists.