Haiti Health Care System on Verge of Collapse

  • Posted on: 24 May 2024
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

According to UNICEF, Haiti's health system is "on the verge of collapse" with six out of 10 hospitals in the country barely operational. UNICEF emphasised that violence, mass displacement, dangerous epidemics, and increasing malnutrition have put the country's already weakened health system under great strain but it may be supply chain breaks that cause it to collapse. Getting vital supplies, health care staff, and patients to where they need to be has become logistically challenging and dangerous due to gang-violence.  It remains unclear, even after all this time, when the Kenyan-led security force will arrive - and without security, access to health care will suffer.  The full BBC article by Jaroslav Lukiv follows.  

Haiti’s Health Crisis Grows as Gangs Destroy Hospitals, Pharmacies

  • Posted on: 2 April 2024
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Even in more peaceful times, Haiti's patchwork system of governmental, charity, and private sector health care facilities were insufficient to meet the needs of the population.  Conflict with and between gangs has caused the situation to deteriorate further with over 30 private and public health care facilities having been vandalised or forced to close.  Those still open often lack staff, stocks, and security.  Haiti has only enough vaccines to last until the end of the month, health care facilities throughout the country struggle to have pharmaceuticals delivered through largely gang-controlled Port-au-Prince, and cholera is spreading on top of increasing food insecurity and malnutrition.  At this point, the situation is so difficult that re-establishing security would in and of itself be a health intervention.  The full article by Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald is linked and follows. 

A Transition Beset By Challenges and Uncertainty

  • Posted on: 23 March 2024
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

In the past, Haitian politicians used and had influence over gangs.  Now the gangs hold the power, controlling 95% of Port-au-Prince as well as the Artibonite and Ouest departments. Gangs charge "fees" for using national roads, kidnap and have attacked government and civilian infrastructure, including the national airport, national palace, and a prison which freed 4,000 criminals, swelling their ranks.  Embassies and international NGOs are evacuating their staff leaving Haitians feeling abandoned when most in need.  A transition council is being formed and the Kenyan-led Multi-National Securtiy Support Mission (MSS) remains pending.  More information on the increasingly grim situation follows in a New Humanitarian piece by Daniela Mohor. 

What's Happening in Haiti?

  • Posted on: 7 March 2024
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The much-awaited Kenyan-led multi-national force is nowhere to be seen - and even if it were, it may not be enough to stop the chaos.  Gangs control 80% of Port-au-Prince, have attacked the airport, and are banding together to force for the resignation of Ariel Henry.  According to a Miami Herald article by Michael Wilner and Jacquline Charles, the U.S Government has asked Henry to move forward with the formation of a transitional council — a mechanism that would involve the appointment of an interim prime minister to replace Henry, compelling his resignation. The situation has been urgent for a long time but the lack of action may result in the toppling of the government and the overwhelming of the Haitian National Police.  A New Humanitarian article by Daniela Mohor below provides more information the humanitarian impact. 

Haitian Doctor is Finalist for Peace Award

  • Posted on: 4 December 2023
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Dr. Marie-Marcelle H. Deschamps (GHESKIO) is among four finalists being considered for the 2023 Women Building Peace Award from the United States Institute for Peace. Dr. Deschamps emphasizes the role of women in promoting both peace and public health, for example in conducting outreach to gangs in order to continue providing much-needed health services to Port-au-Prince residents.  According to Deschamps. “I know the risks are there, but we all have to take a risk and know that we are on a mission, and you choose your battle. We each have a battle and mine is staying here.”  The full article by Miami Herald journalist Jacqueline Charles follows. 

Aid Delivery Depends on Talking to 300 Gangs

  • Posted on: 15 October 2023
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

No matter how bad insecurity ever has been, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has always maintained an important presence in Haiti.  With approximately eighty percent of Port-au-Prince being under gang control, the ICRC must maintain constant communication with many of the 300 gangs and manage their ever-shifting alliances in order to provide assistance to the most vulnerable.  In response to Haiti's worsening situation, ICRC intends to increase its humanitarian efforts including by expanding training for emergency health staff, ambulance services, and support to over-burdened health care facilities in insecure neighborhoods.  The full BBC article by Vanessa Buschschlüter is linked and follows. 

Violence Spreads North With Over 10,000 Displaced

  • Posted on: 29 September 2023
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Unchecked violence continues to spread like a cancer in Haiti, with over 10,000 displaced from their homes in the north.  Suspected gang members attacked a police station in Saut-d'Eau and the Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health) Facility in Mirebalais has also been attacked.  The Kenyan-led peacekeeping force is still more idea than reality and despite the violence, the United States continues to deport Haitians.  The peacekeepers will face a much worse security situation than any previous peacekeeping force.  More information follows in the Reuters article below. 

Kenya Ready to Lead Multinational Force to Haiti

  • Posted on: 1 August 2023
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Kenya's Foreign Ministry said his country is ready to lead a multinational force into Haiti, which is experiencing a surge in violence between police and gangs.  During a time when so few countries are willing to get involved in Haiti's increasingly desperate situation, it is refreshing to see a country, and one that is not even remotely close to Haiti geographically, offer to take a leadership role.  The proposed 1,000 police officers would help train and assist the Haitian National Police in restoring security.  The deployment would still require a U.N Security Council mandate and formal approvals in Kenya.  The brief article is linked and follows, updates will be posted in comments. 

2023 Trafficking in Persons Report for Haiti

  • Posted on: 18 June 2023
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The U.S State Department recently released its 2023 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.  There was very limited progress addressing TIP including domestic servitude (restavek). This is hardly surprising given insecurity, weak governance, natural disasters, inflation and increased food insecurity.  Haiti was not downgraded to Level 3 because it developed a written plan that could at least provide a foundation for future efforts.   

Gangs, Hunger, Inflation: UN Convenes Special Meeting on Haiti

  • Posted on: 16 June 2023
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

As the situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate, 5.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.  According to UNICEF, this includes almost 3 million children, the highest on record.  Gang violence, food insecurity made worse by climate change, natural disasters, a lack of basic services, and disease outbreaks such as cholera together present major security, humanitarian, and development challenges for Haiti and the international community.  Meetings have been called by the United Nations, CARICOM, and partner countries to urge increased support, without which it could yet become much worse.  The full article by Miami Herald journalist Jacqueline Charles follows. 

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