Haitian hospitals accuse lack of fuel to care for their patients

The lack of fuel has become a new obstacle to access health care in Haiti, a country where generators powered by petroleum derivatives are the main source of electricity in institutions, private establishments and homes.

The organization Doctors of the World warned this Sunday of the precarious situation in which the hospitals in which they offer services are found through agreements with state institutions; centers where, according to Efe, there is hardly any fuel left to guarantee service to patients.


According to a member of the organization who prefers to preserve his identity, the arrival of fuel had been negotiated for this Sunday, but the accesses are blocked, supposedly by members of the G9 (a conglomerate of the main armed gangs in the country), and the trucks with the fuel have not arrived.

At this point the situation may worsen, since a national mobilization is announced from this Monday, precisely to protest the shortage of fuel and insecurity, protests that will mean the complete blockade of the activity, with the lifting of barricades and burning of tires, that predictably degenerate into looting, burning and shooting.


It is also impossible to buy fuel to fill vehicle tanks, so health personnel cannot find a way to get to their jobs in clinics and hospitals, centers where fewer and fewer patients go, for the same reasons.

Its justification is "Why am I going to go if I have no way, there is no car or motorcycle with gasoline and when I get there they will not treat me because (the hospital) is not functional"said the member of Doctors of the World.

The reality is that a hospital without power can hardly offer services because "everything is a chain. Medicines and other medical supplies cannot arrive, no one can be hospitalized because the machines do not work …"he lamented.

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Some private centers have already raised the alarm and are requesting the creation of a fuel delivery corridor for all health establishments.

St. Damien and St. Luc Hospitals reported Saturday in a statement that they only have 6,000 gallons of diesel in reserve, an amount that will allow the centers to operate for a few days.

If diesel does not arrive (16,000 gallons were expected), on Tuesday, October 26, it will be necessary to suspend the pediatric service for more than 300 children, the maternity service for about 45 women, as well as the emergencies, and more than 70 adults admitted.


The lack of energy complicates even more a situation in itself "tense and uncertain due to the violence of armed gangs" that has been creeping in for months and that also has a negative impact on access to healthcare.

"One of the biggest concerns now is being held incommunicado", even more so with the protests and blockades that are coming, because mobile phone antennas also run on fuel and are going out of service, so "if fuel does not arrive, they will continue to fall", further complicating already poor communications.

The lack of fuel sparked protests this week in the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince, where there were blockades of streets this Thursday by burning barricades erected by motorcycle taxi drivers suffocated by the price of the very little gasoline they could find.

The purchase of fuel on the black market is prohibitive, going from 200 gourdes (2 dollars) per gallon to 2,500 (25.5 dollars) for the same amount, one more ingredient in the crisis that is hitting Haiti, where it has almost completely disappeared public transport.


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