The health care needs caused by the earthquake were immense. The Haitian health care system was weak even before the earthquake and people too poor to pay for treatment. During the earthquake, many hospitals and clinics were destroyed.
Close to 400,000 people have benefitted from Caritas health care programmes so far. These include trauma care, 480 surgeries, and primary care in 21 hospitals and health posts, distribution of health kits and medicine, and supporting a public health campaign.
In March and April, Caritas also supported vaccination campaigns against diphtheria, tetanus, measles and rubella. Within two months, roughly 4,000 people could get vaccinated for the first time against these frequent diseases in Haiti.
Now, the most urgent needs caused by the earthquake have been taken care of. But Haiti needs help to rebuild its hospitals and to ensure wider access to health care for the whole population, without regards to their income.
As many humanitarian organizations have started to withdraw their temporary medical units from the city of Léogâne for example, Caritas health centres are needed more than ever.
90% of Léogâne was destroyed in the earthquake. Caritas provided emergency treatment during the first weeks after the disaster. Now, people mainly need basic care. Cases of diarrhoea or respiratory and skin infections caused by bad living and hygiene conditions have become very frequent.
As contradictory as it may seem, people have never had access to as much health care as after the earthquake. They just couldn’t afford to pay for treatment. Now, the situation needs to be stabilized to ensure access for everybody.