Haiti 2010 Earthquake Response

Archive for the category “health”

Haiti’s rescuers stricken by illness and trauma

Those who volunteered to respond to the Haiti earthquake deserve thanks, not only for donating their time, but for the risks they endured.  According to the CDC, seven emergency responders have returned from Haiti with malaria, a disease with long-term effects. But, psychological trauma appears to be more common.  A field update posted at InsideNGO describes the impacts on the staff of one NGO working in Haiti.

Staff are frequently requesting mental health services following mandatory debriefing session.  A majority of workers are also reporting physical symptoms of stress including significant chest pains, nightmares, flashbacks, and disassociation. Read more…

President Obama meets with President Rene Preval

In a press conference at the White House today, U.S. President Barack Obama and Haiti’s president, Rene Preval, thanked the volunteers, troops and donors who responded to the January 12 earthquake.  But, more needs to be done, said Obama, to prevent a second disaster in the form of spring rains that threaten Haiti’s 1.3 million homeless.

Read more…

Outbreak of malaria threatens Haiti’s homeless


Photo:  Tess Williams/Oxfam (Flickr/cc)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports eleven cases of the malaria strain P. falciparum among aid workers and Haitian residents.

“Displaced persons living outdoors or in temporary shelters and thousands of emergency responders in Haiti is at substantial risk for malaria”, said the CDC.

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Hospitals in Haiti charge patients for donated medicine

Currently, Haiti has about 90 public, private hospitals and field hospitals.  They depend on the United Nations for supplies of medicine, which it provides without charge.  But, about a dozen of the hospitals are charging patients for donated medicine, and care. Read more…

Explanations change, but red tape endures

Just when it seemed that the last obstacle to medical evacuations had cleared, a new obstacle has emerged.  After ten Americans were arrested trying to take children out of Haiti, private evacuations of injured Haitian children to the U.S. for life-saving care have again slowed to a crawl.  Without certain paperwork in hand, “Aid workers, doctors and government officials are worried about being accused of kidnapping,” reports the New York Times.  American Customs officials reportedly have failed to give pilots required forms prior to take off. Read more…

Officials now blame Super Bowl for freeze on medical airlifts

Last Wednesday, the government put a freeze on medical evacuations of Haitians to hospitals in the U.S. for critical care.  Since then, Florida and federal officials have offered conflicting explanations for the freeze, which came after Florida Governor Charlie Crist sent a letter to HHS requesting reimbursement for the cost of Haitian medical care. Crist says his letter was misinterpreted. Still, two Haitians on the evacuation list died waiting for help that never arrived.

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As Haitians lay dying, US officials quarreled over medical care

Five days ago, airlifts that previously evacuated Haitian patients to the U.S. for sophisticated medical care were halted, reportedly because a dispute erupted over payment for the care. Late yesterday (Sunday) the US government announced that the freeze on medical evacuations had been lifted. Read more…

Haiti in desperate need of physical therapists

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Air and sea access improves, hospital ship receives patients

Transportation bottlenecks are starting to clear after Thursday’s opening of three additional airfields, one in Jacmel and two in the Dominican Republic,  and restoration of limited port traffic at the south pier in Port-au-Prince.  The new access points should help lessen the backlog of 1400 flights waiting for landing slots.

Additional steps to speed up the flow of aid from outside the country included recruiting aid officials to help air controllers decide which flights have landing priority and implementing a new web-based system that allows aid groups to monitor flight cargo and scheduled landings.

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Patients die waiting for medical shipments turned away

It has now been a full week since a 7.0 earthquake turned much of Haiti into rubble.  Airport traffic has increased to 180 flights a day, but a plane loaded with medical equipment nevertheless was prevented from landing three times since Sunday, despite a US commitment  on Monday to giving landing priority to humanitarian flights. Read more…

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