Monday, March 12, 2007


Author: Dr. John A. Carroll

Haiti’s many different sectors are crumbling into oblivion. This includes Haiti’s medical system.

Port-au-Prince is the capital. It is a densely populated filthy place with approximately two million beautiful people.

The capital is served by one public hospital run by the state of Haiti. Patients fortunate enough to be admitted must purchase their own medications and IV solutions off the street, and have family members bring them food, bathe them, and change their beds. (Haiti’s few private hospitals are not accessible to 8 million Haitians that earn less than 2 dollars per day.)

To make matters worse, the doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff at the public hospital have been on strike during the last two weeks. They haven’t been paid since September.

The International Herald Tribune accurately reported the scene in Port-au-Prince yesterday:
“… striking workers removed the corpses of 11 infants from the morgue (at the hospital)…and laid them out in a courtyard in a macabre protest aimed at pressuring the government for back wages. The workers placed the bodies on a table in view of several school children at the general hospital’s compound in downtown Port-au-Prince. The striking employees, mostly janitors and morgue workers, also blocked the main entrance to the hospital and prevented anyone from entering.”

The clinic I worked in yesterday was packed with mothers and babies that have few alternatives when the general hospital is closed. The babies are very ill and their mothers are exhausted and frightened. They ask for very little.

The opulent medical buildings, sophisticated technology, and the planned 500 million dollar construction on Glen Oak Avenue in Peoria, dwarf all of Haiti’s medical and non-medical resources. Staring into these mothers’ eyes, while knowing what we have at home, is quite humbling.
John A. Carroll,

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