While Haiti’s ongoing political crisis has calmed down in the past few weeks, Centre de Santé de Raboteau, a public hospital in Haiti serving over 96,125 patients annually, continues to face major obstacles. Centre de Santé de Raboteau has not been able to open since the end of August because it is situated in a zone controlled by opposition leaders. Doctors, nurses, and patients have not been able to reach the hospital because of frequent shooting and gang activity. Additionally, due to increasing gas shortages in the country, the hospital has been without electricity or a generator for weeks at a time.
For the 369 HIV-positive patients that count on receiving medication and regular medical care, Haiti’s political crisis has led to a serious health crisis. Without regular dosages of HIV medication, patients risk growing resistant to medications, immune systems weaken, and the transmission risk increases.
As the obstacles mounted, the Santé medical team worked with local hospital nurses and doctors to create a plan for community distribution of medication. The plan included speaking with the opposition gang leaders to get special permission for the site ambulance to pass through barricades. There would be five sites in the neighborhood, authorized by gang leaders, where patients could come to pick up medicine. As of last week, 97% of HIV positive patients at the Centre de Santé de Raboteau were receiving their medicine despite the fact that the hospital still remains closed.
Jean Eveins, the HIV technical advisor for Santé, said, “We are working today, we are working tomorrow, we are working until we reach every last patient.”