The reactions of the US health care workers are worth the listen:
“…it was like a knife” hitting us
“in their pain, and hope and faith…”
BTW, although the program may have aired on the BBC, the segment was produced by North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC.
And although the incident took place shortly after the earthquake, conditions in hospitals there are still bad.
For example, rats and insects are infesting hospitals and sickening patients, says Raleigh Jenkins, president of ABC Home and Commercial Services in Houston. He was part of a team led by the National Pest Management Association that taught Haitian hospital workers how to maintain sanitation under extreme conditions.
“Nurses told us that rats were chewing on patients’ ears and eating medical supplies, and you could hear the buzzing of flies and mosquitoes everywhere, even the baby delivery room,” Jenkins says of one hospital he visited. “I watched them walk out with hazardous waste and waste from the kitchen and throw it off the side of a hill.”
And, sadly, international interest in Haiti has waned, resulting in a shortage of medical care and needless deaths.
For a while, there was a venting of compassion. At General hospital, the largest public hospital in Haiti, there was at one point too many doctors and too many supplies. People saw the need, and they opened their pocket books and booked their flights. I was often asked, “what can I do to help?” I said “wait 6 months, because too many people will forget, yet the need will still be there.” When I visited General hospital yesterday, there was hardly anything happening there. The operating tables that were donated looked desolate, and the rooms were empty. A handful of diligent Haitian nurses, who haven’t been paid in months, were trying to do the best they could with hardly any resources.
The largest private hospital in the city, which serviced the small percentage of Haitians that could pay for their health care, has chains on the doors and is shut down for business. Six months later, the need is still here, and in many ways, things are worse than ever.