Here’s a blurb from a recent MSF dispatch:
In the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince, where nearly a third of Haiti’s population lives, the public health facilities have not integrated cholera treatment into their services, which means that if you present at a public hospital with cholera symptoms you will be referred to the CTC of an NGO like MSF. In the department of Artibonite, where approximately 20 percent of all cholera cases have been reported since the epidemic began, some CTCs are facing medical supply issues, and some of the staff have not been paid their salaries since January. This has direct consequences for patient care. However, these situations are in contrast with the successes in Nord department, where the local health authorities responded well to the last peak in the epidemic. This calls into question the national authorities’ political will to set up an effective national cholera response system.
This situation is further complicated by the decrease in international funding, which has reduced the number of NGOs working on cholera—whether on the medical care level or the prevention level with activities concerning water, hygiene, and sanitation. There are fewer and fewer operators engaged in the fight against cholera in Haiti, but the population is still vulnerable to the disease.
Successful coordination of responses to the epidemic between the remaining operators depends on quality, reliable epidemiological data. Yet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) support to the Haitian government in setting up an effective epidemiological surveillance system—which would make it possible to adapt the cholera response in strategic locations—has been lacking.
An order giving United States military aircraft priority to land in Haiti after last week’s massive earthquake has delayed the arrival of urgently needed medical teams and supplies by up to 48 hours.
Doctors have described a “dramatic” situation, where more than five cargo planes carrying surgical equipment have been refused landings at Port-au-Prince airport in the days after the 7.0-magnitude quake.
Benoit Leduc from Medecins Sans Frontieres says the delays have made the situation worse and doctors are now in a race against time to save the injured.
“It’s difficult operations, we’re facing logistics constraints. We had five of our planes, three cargo planes and two of our expatriate staff – including surgical teams that we tried to send in pretty quickly – five of these planes were refused to land,” he said.
“They had to go across the border. So these additional delays – we clearly had like 48 hours of delay – because of this access problem to the site.”
– US troop landings delay Haiti aid
Imagine if the U.S. were to hold elections after the Republican Party had rounded up Senator John Kerry and other prominent Democrats and thrown them in jail without charges, while waging a campaign of violence and political assassinations in all “blue states.” To hold Haitian elections under present conditions would be comparable to this, according to one of the panelists at the launch of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee (THAC).
For the THAC launch event on August 4, prominent Haiti solidarity activists addressed a crowd of 80 people as Toronto joined the ranks of other Canadian cities (Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Halifax) that are home to active groups calling for an end to the repression being carried out in Haiti by an illegitimate Canadian-backed government.
Continue reading Murdering the poor: Canadian tax dollars at work