Since February 2019, Haiti has been shaken by civil disturbances. These started in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but quickly spread across the island nation. The unrest began as anti-corruption marches but spiraled into riots, streets barricaded by burning tires, gang violence, and deadly clashes between police and demonstrators. Medicine for Peace volunteers and staff have been forcibly held and threatened by armed gangs at roadblocks, necessitating enhanced security measures to protect MFP workers.
In addition to charges of corruption, the Haitian government has been ineffective in preventing soaring inflation rates, strengthening a markedly devaluated currency, and ensuring a justice system that protects innocent civilians. Most Haitians are now face with insufficient funds to buy food which has tripled in price. As the violence escalates, a growing health crisis has emerged within an already fragile public health system. At present, roadblocks prevent health personnel from getting to work and block the delivery of essential drugs and medical supplies, as well as critical food and fuel to the countryside. The result: we are treating more patients and have fewer resources with which to care for them. The Medicine For Peace women’s health clinics have not closed their doors since the civil unrest started. However, the blockade of the road from Port-au-Prince to Gonaïves has essentially stopped the flow of essential medicine and supplies over the past two months.
The Board and staff of Medicine for Peace are alarmed about the worsening political and economic situation in Haiti. We have taken steps to ensure the well-being of all staff and volunteers working in Haiti. At the same time, we are increasing our efforts to continue to deliver high quality health care to the Haitian people who are dependent on us during this crisis.