AMERICA/HAITI – XXXII World Day of the Sick: “The health system is on the verge of collapse, but there is not only violence on the island”
AMERICA/HAITI – XXXII World Day of the Sick: “The well being system is on the snapping point, however there’s not solely violence on the island”
Saturday, 10 February 2024
by Antonella Prenna
Jérémie (Agenzia Fides) – “Our hospital in Port-au-Prince stays a small beacon of hope within the face of the darkness that envelops the town at present,” says Father Massimo Miraglio, the one Italian Camillian missionary current in Haiti for 18 years.
On the event of the XXXII World Day of the Sick on Sunday, February eleventh, and the XXIV version of Medication Assortment Day, which is able to happen from February sixth to twelfth, the missionary describes the tragic state through which the well being system of the Caribbean nation is, and on the similar time the inhabitants’s nice need for redemption.
“In the intervening time” stated Father Massimo in an interview with Fides, “the island’s well being system is in a very catastrophic scenario, each within the capital and within the provincial cities, virtually all hospitals, well being facilities and clinics are closed as a result of unrest and the shortage of medical gear is closed. That is notably critical within the poorest areas, within the working-class areas, the place tensions and violence are at their highest.
All of the small constructions that till a while in the past nonetheless provided a service, albeit minimal, needed to shut one after the opposite, and the inhabitants not has the chance to resolve the well being issues which have tragically elevated lately as a result of clashes and violence which are destroying the nation. Simply consider the numerous injured within the clashes between the gangs, to the issue of malnutrition, which promotes illness, particularly amongst susceptible teams corresponding to kids and the aged, and to the chronically unwell who don’t obtain life-saving medicines. It’s a actual well being catastrophe, particularly in Port-au-Prince, however not solely, as a result of this actuality has now unfold to your complete province. Sadly, many hospitals have now thrown within the towel, are closing and the employees is attempting in each doable approach to depart the nation, briefly, the scenario is extraordinarily critical”.
A small glimmer of hope on this dramatic image is the “Lobby Saint-Camille” hospital within the la Plaine district within the north of the capital. “Regardless of the difficulties, the issues, the strain and the threats,” experiences Father Massimo, “the hospital has all the time remained open. It’s run by the Haitian Camillian non secular who’ve been educated over time and who now, with nice braveness and dedication, will proceed to function the hospital and do every little thing doable to have the ability to proceed to maintain the inhabitants, particularly probably the most susceptible.”
Haiti has all the time had a poorly functioning and, above all, utterly paid healthcare system. “The poor,” says the Camillian missionary, “had been excluded and the few wealthy may very well be handled for the only issues within the capital, however for extra difficult sicknesses they typically went overseas, particularly to the USA. It has all the time been an unique healthcare system through which the poor had been excluded and all the time had nice difficulties with even the smallest well being issues. In recent times the scenario has change into actually dramatic. Particularly within the final two years, the system in Port-au-Prince, the one reference level the place there have been nonetheless just a few hospitals, regularly ‘rotted’ and eventually collapsed utterly as a result of prevailing violence and complete chaos. As a result of troublesome scenario within the nation, many docs, many well-trained nurses, have left Haiti and emigrated to different nations. At our Camillian Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the employees, all Haitians, are effectively educated, prepared and as much as the duty, however they expertise extraordinarily traumatic moments. Usually they can not even go residence, they’re compelled to work lengthy shifts after which keep within the hospital, even in a single day, to relaxation after which return to work. It’s typically troublesome even to go away the hospital and return to the locations the place they reside as a result of violence within the capital. A number of nurses, docs and medical employees have been robbed, kidnapped and extorted lately, some have by no means returned residence.”
The scenario has additionally worsened within the provinces. “If up to now the provincial cities didn’t have constructions able to assembly the minimal well being wants,” continues Father Miraglio, “there have been constructions, hospitals. In Jérémie for instance, the city, the place I’ve been working for nearly twenty years, there was a hospital that was definitely not functioning correctly, that was definitely having nice difficulties, however that was nonetheless capable of provide some companies to assist the inhabitants, in fact with out treating probably the most critical instances, however a minimum of capable of deal with the extraordinary, the only issues. Sadly, the scenario has actually collapsed within the final two years. There isn’t a extra water, there isn’t a gentle, there aren’t any medical gadgets or drugs; individuals have to purchase every little thing from syringes to anesthetics, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Whenever you go to the hospital you must take every little thing with you and you already know that you’ll have to spend some huge cash. Within the final three years, the variety of certified well being employees has additionally decreased in Jérémie. Many have left the hospital and plenty of have left completely. On the one hand we discover the hospital’s structural deficiencies, actually catastrophic companies, and then again the employees is more and more demotivated and annoyed. In the previous couple of months in Jérémie hospital we have now typically seen ladies who got here to present beginning being taken to the supply room with out electrical energy. We’ve seen cesarean sections carried out by the sunshine of a smartphone, typically with insufficient medicine; an working room that features very poorly, the place solely small operations are carried out, the place it is rather simple to catch any infections and the place operations are carried out with a torch.
Within the emergency room, stiches are performed with out anesthesia.
Father Massimo factors out the significance that Medication Assortment Day additionally has for Jérémie’s actuality. “For a few years, as a Camillian who has chosen to be near sick and poor individuals, I’ve been working a service through which I distribute free medicines from Italy. Each night I obtain dozens of people that include medical prescriptions asking for medicines. In these previous few months, earlier than my arrival in Italy, the variety of individuals has elevated considerably. That is additionally a possibility for me to thank from the underside of my coronary heart all those that assist us ship medicines on World Illness Day, and for this exercise that the ‘Banco Farmaceutico’ has been finishing up for a few years with nice success. The medicines are despatched not solely to establishments and associations in Italy, but additionally to individuals in nations like Haiti, who’re extraordinarily poor and needy. It shouldn’t be underestimated that within the poorest nations the standard of the medicines available on the market could be very poor. Most of these present in Haiti are produced in nations the place there’s completely no management. Or they’re produced in to illustrate first world nations however made to be exported to poor nations, the place there isn’t a kind of management and due to this fact of very poor high quality. It follows that the exercise of the Pharmaceutical Financial institution, which can be celebrated yearly on the event of World Sick Day, is a really treasured exercise as a result of it permits us to gather high quality medicines to help our actions”. “As for the dedication that I’ve been finishing up in Jérémie for 18 years, just a few years in the past we began the development of the small hospital, which sadly we have now not but accomplished due to the scenario within the nation, the issue in attracting volunteers from Italy to work with the locals, the technicians and the bricklayers on web site. Sadly, for the final three years, for security causes, we have now needed to cease the work and the inflow of volunteers who wished to assist us as a result of it’s too harmful. One yr alone In 2023 there will likely be a minimum of 6,000 kidnappings with the intention of extortion, these are the reported kidnappings, however there are a minimum of as many who haven’t been reported”, stated Father Massimo.
“Along with the mission that I perform along with my colleagues, since August 2023 I’ve additionally been the parish priest of Pourcine, a city within the mountains the place the healthcare wants are at the moment immense,” he continues. “It’s a very distant place within the mountains, which could be very troublesome to achieve. To get from Jérémie to Pourcine close to the Pic Macaya, the second highest mountain within the nation at 2400 meters, we’ll journey a minimum of 7 to eight hours if we’re fortunate, however much more. We cowl the primary a part of the route by bike or a stable automotive, after which it is a minimum of one other 3 hours on foot to get there. So think about the wants in such a distant space, with no outpatient clinic and really removed from the hospital in Jérémie, in addition to a number of hours’ stroll from a primary small clinic that’s typically unable to do virtually something. “It due to this fact stays a precedence for the parish to construct an outpatient clinic as rapidly as doable to fulfill the essential well being wants of the inhabitants.”
“Days and actions like these, organized by the ‘Banco Farmaceutico’, are essential as a result of they assist to carry hope and help the efforts of all those that, even in Haiti, don’t need to surrender however need to battle, struggling to return to the sunshine, to have the ability to lead a standard life once more, to renew their actions. The assistance that reaches us by these medicines is vital to help our service in such a troublesome time for individuals; to have the ability to proceed to hope, to battle in order that Haiti can lastly rise once more and be a rustic through which individuals can reside once more, albeit with fewer assets, however with dignity,” emphasizes Father Massimo in conclusion. (Agenzia Fides, 10/2/2024)