Doctors Without Borders Clinics Damaged in Haiti
All three of Haiti’s Doctors Without Borders medical facilities are out of commission in Haiti, where a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Port-Au-Prince, the country’s capital. About 800 medical personnel were working in Haiti when the disaster struck yesterday, and sadly, not all of them are accounted for at this time.
NPR reports that one of the group’s facilities collapsed and the other two are so badly damaged that they had to be abandoned. The group is still providing care to the Haitian citizens in tents, treating traumatic injuries, crush wounds, and burns that occurred from exploding gas containers in collapsing buildings. Although they cannot provide surgical care without the appropriate facilities – all five medical centers in the area were also badly damaged and are non-functioning - they are offering first aid and stabilization as much as possible.
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organizations created in France in 1971. Today, the group provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect or catastrophe. In 1999, MSF received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The group operates independently of any political or religious group. Eighty-nine percent of MSF’s overall funding comes from private sources. On any one day, more than 27,000 committed doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, laboratory technicians, and mental health professionals provide assistance around the world.
In 2006, Doctors Without Borders gave more than 9 million outpatient consultations, delivered 99,000 babies, treated 1.8 million people for malaria, treated 150,000 malnourished children, provided medical therapy to 100,000 with HIV/AIDS, and vaccinated 1.8 million people against meningitis – among its many accomplishments.
In Haiti, more staff from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is expected to arrive in the coming days, including a 100-bed hospital with an inflatable surgical unit.