When “The Good Doctors” Leave

On March 7, 2010 the Los Angles Times published an article written by Joel Rubin entitled “What happens to Haiti when ‘the good doctors’ leave.”  The main thrust of Joel’s article was “Emergency medical workers are becoming the de facto healthcare system for a country that has long failed to care for its own.  Soon a ragged health network could be left largely on its own again.”

In this photo released by MINUSTAH, an injured youth is attended by medics in a field hospital at the Jordanian battalion's base in Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. The U.N. Security Council approved extra troops and police officers to beef up security in Haiti and ensure that desperately needed aid gets to earthquake victims. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12. (AP Photo/MINUSTAH,Sophia Paris)

Unfortunately, we have now passed the 5-year anniversary of the Big Quake and Joel’s prediction has come to fruition, his post remains as poignant now as it did then.  The devastation from that natural disaster affected approximately 3 million people and killed 220,000 according to government estimates.

100119-N-7948C-048 KILLICK, Haiti (Jan. 19, 2010) A Haitian woman screams in pain as U.S. military medical personnel try to set her broken leg at a clinic at the Killick Haitian Coast Guard Base. Service members from a joint medical surgical team and several U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard units are providing medical care as part of Operation Unified Response to victims of a 7.o magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martine Curaron/Released)

What is the situation in Haiti now after several years of reconstructive efforts?

Before any sort of assessment of where Haiti is now, we should remember that on January 12, 2010, 60 percent of an already dysfunctional health system was destroyed in an instant. Furthermore, 10 percent of Haiti’s medical staff were either killed or subsequently left the country. This was, quite simply, a catastrophic event for the country.

The problem with healthcare in Haiti is that there is still no system, no structure, no plan – at least not one that has been widely implemented. What healthcare facilities exist are wholly inadequate – insufficient medical staff, support staff, equipment and treatment. It is left to medical NGOs and a few faith-based charity clinics to provide what they can.

100206-N-6214F-014 CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti (Feb. 6, 2010) Medical personnel treat a Haitian woman at the Milot hospital in cap-Haitian, Haiti operated by the Crudem Foundation. Several U.S. and international military and non-governmental agencies are conducting humanitarian and disaster relief operations as part of Operation Unified Response after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake caused severe damage in and around Port-au-Prince, Haiti Jan. 12. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Robert J. Fluegel/Released)

Fortunately, at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti we have retained “good doctors” including the Director of the orthopedic surgical program, Dr. Francel Alexis, born and raised in Haiti, who continues to strive to overcome obstacles with a dedicated team of local nurses, technicians and volunteer workers.  Please consider supporting the restorative project at Hopital Adventiste.

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