Doctors Without Borders closes hospital in Haiti amid rising gang violence

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders has permanently closed its hospital in an impoverished neighborhood of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, amid gang violence, it said in a statement Monday.

The hospital in Martissant, south of Port-au-Prince, provided free medical treatment to approximately 300,000 people in America’s poorest country, and has been run since 2006 by the charity – known by its French abbreviation Doctors Without Borders. .

But for the past two months, armed mobs have been fighting for control of Martissant, while the area is effectively under siege.

Police had already left the area after the local station was attacked by the gangs when the violence broke out in early June.

Several thousand residents have already fled, while banks and businesses have been looted by the armed groups.

The MSF hospital was hit by gunfire in late June, although no one was injured and the charity was not intentionally targeted.

At the time, it said it was evacuating the facility to protect staff.

“In order to ensure the safety of staff and patients and to draw attention to the unbearable situation in Martissant, MSF has been forced to close its doors after 15 years of presence in the area,” the NGO said.

It said it has not had time to remove the logos from the building and that it “disclaims any responsibility for what could happen in the former emergency center buildings”.

The charity that won the Nobel Peace Prize said it was determined to “help the Haitian population in general and the poorest in particular”, and was in talks to move the center to another part of Port-au-Saint-Pierre. Prince to move.

“The care provided covered the treatment of trauma, medical and gynecological-obstetric emergencies,” the statement said.

“MSF continues to call on armed actors in Haiti to respect the safety of health personnel, patients, equipment and medical facilities; vehicles and ambulances must also be able to circulate safely.”

The new Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, who took power in Haiti after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, has vowed to bring peace and security.

But the Caribbean nation remains mired in political and security chaos, with a marked rise in ransom kidnappings by armed gangs and a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Non-governmental organizations play a key role in providing medical care in Haiti, where the government spends less than five percent of its budget on health care.

Doctors Without Borders has been working in Haiti for 30 years.

(AFP)

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