Dear the Base Eco Arts Collective,
Our teams are finding it extremely difficult to move around the city because of the damaged infrastructure; however we have been able to reach the most affected areas and are now working in twenty six locations and running 4 mobile clinics. Despite transport problems, we have managed to bring in 348 international volunteers and more than 1,000 tons of relief material with more on the way. Our teams include surgeons, anaesthetists, nephrologists (kidney specialists) and psychologists and we now have over 3,000 volunteers and national staff working to provide emergency medical care to the earthquake survivors. We have successfully set up an inflatable hospital which has two operating rooms, among other facilities.
In a race against time, we are focusing on meeting the huge demand for life-saving surgery for those with terrible injuries. The most common serious injuries are open fractures, head injuries and infected wounds that need amputation. Working around the clock with limited operating theatres, our teams have treated around 55,000 people, with nearly 3,700 patients having received surgical care. The trauma of the earthquake is very apparent and over 22,000 people have been counselled by MSF’s mental health experts.
The teams are also trying to identify more medical structures that are intact and could be used to perform surgery. Loris De Filippi, the coordinator for MSF's work in Choscal hospital in Cité Soleil says the position there and at other locations is problematic. "It's the most difficult part of our job. Every time we go out of the operating theatre we see faces imploring us for treatment. And they are begging us there in front of the hospital. It's a very unacceptable situation. What we are trying to do is to expand our capacity to answer these calls."
MSF has now established many other locations where we are dealing with a similar variety of injuries. One of the most recent facilities where we have started working is the dialysis ward of the large General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where MSF discovered a still functioning dialysis machine. We are also setting up our inflatable hospital, which provides two operating theatres.
Outside of Port-au-Prince, our teams are assessing the medical needs in Leogane, Grand Goave, Petit Goave, Jacmel and Saint-Marc. We also aim to restart obstetric care activities as soon as possible.
While international aid is trickling into Port-au-Prince, inadequate shelter, food shortages and sporadic access to water are major concerns. "Basic provisions were always problematic for the people of Port-au-Prince but the position is far worse now," says Vincent Hoedt, one of MSF's emergency coordinators. "And obviously there's a concern for people who are already weakened by injuries. There are also shortages of things like gasoline, which affects the working of all kinds of vital equipment." However, MSF teams have distributed over 18,000 non food items, such as kitchen kits, hygiene kits, jerry cans, blankets and plastic sheeting, in addition to 10,500 tents.
MSF has been working in Haiti since 1991. In Port-au-Prince, MSF provided emergency obstetric care in Jude Anne hospital; mobile clinics in the slums of Martissant, Pelé Simon, La Saline, and Solino; offered emergency medical aid in Martissant hospital; and provided trauma care and physiotherapy in La Trinité and Pacot hospitals, including counselling for victims of sexual violence. North of the capital, in Gonaïves, MSF ran a water and sanitation programme and mobile clinics, and managed an 80-bed hospital to provide emergency, maternity and paediatric care, in response to the destruction caused by annual tropical storms and hurricanes.
MSF is committed to providing emergency medical care to the people of Haiti now and in the future. Thank you once again for responding to our appeal; your support gives us the flexibility to act swiftly and effectively to emergencies, and just as importantly shows solidarity with the people we care for.
So that you can see for yourself what your support achieves for our patients, we would like to send you our quarterly newsletter /Dispatches. /This newsletter is sent to all our supporters and field volunteers to provide an update on our programmes around the world.
Fundraising, MSF UK
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