Dr. Patrick Almazor of PIH/ZL reported from the field last night that people seem to be fleeing Port-au-Prince as the situation in the city becomes more and more dire. In a note expressing the need to keep some resources at our facilities in the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite Valley, he wrote, “People are fleeing PAP whether they are sick or not.”
As patients and their families leave Port-au-Prince in buses, trucks, and cars to seek medical care away from the disaster, PIH is grateful to have two planes full of surgical teams arriving today, some of which will staff our four safe and stocked operating rooms in Cange, Hinche, and St. Marc. The PIH facility in St. Marc is particularly inundated with orthopedic surgery cases – 200 waiting at the last count.
The acute need is certainly still greatest in Port-au-Prince, and we’re lucky that a surgical team already arrived on a plane with Dr. Paul Farmer to Port-au-Prince yesterday. With PIH/Zanmi Lasante leadership, they worked overnight with local officials and other NGOs to develop a plan for strengthening services at the public hospital, Hopital de l' Universite d'Etat d'Haiti (HUEH), where thousands are suffering in need of medicines and surgeries.
This morning, the PIH team in Port-au-Prince reports that PIH/Zanmi Lasante has been designated by the World Health Organization to serve as coordinators at the hospital. In this role, we will be supporting the administration and staff and recruiting additional NGO support to restore services, particularly triage, nursing, and surgical, at the city’s main hospital. Additionally, the team has identified a secondary site at the Aristide Medical School at Tabarre for additional emergency triage and surgery and for referring patients who need more advanced care for transport to our facilities in the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite Valley.