Haiti, Hospital

Hospital In Haiti Reopens After Uptick In Gang Violence And Control

A Haitian hospital reopens amid a struggle to stay afloat, tending to patients in a country overrun with gang violence.

The Doctors Without Borders Emergency Center is operating again after closing down due to the increased gang violence in Haiti. The hospital, located in Port-au-Prince, reopened in early March.

The facility was shut down following a confrontation between medical personnel and one of the country’s gangs. According to Dr. James Gana, who works for the humanitarian organization, gang members surrounded an ambulance approaching the hospital and killed the patient inside the vehicle. He shared details of the December 2023 incident with NBC News.

“The ambulance was surrounded by armed men who forced open the ambulance and executed the patient,” Gana recalled. “This was meters away from our hospital.”

Gangs control a majority of the nation’s capital city, with the increased violence leaving Gana no choice but to reopen and tend to patients. However, those needing medical attention are more hesitant to seek it due to fear of gang retribution.

The president’s assassination in 2021 triggered an onslaught of chaos in the nation. The vacancy for power has since been filled by the crime groups, collapsing Haiti’s political infrastructure. Gana believes that the healthcare system is up next.

“The health system has been on a steady train of deterioration for many years,” shared the 30-year-old Nigeria native. “But now it’s really at the border of collapse.”

However, Haiti has asked the United Nations for help restoring order and ending the violence. The U.N. Security Council authorized a Multinational Security Support mission, but operations to do so have been relatively stalled. In the meantime, no commercial flights are leaving Haiti, leaving foreign visitors no choice but to contact their embassies to flee the country.

The mission, led by Kenya and backed by $200 million from the U.S., still intends to go through. However, the White House has remained adamant about not sending U.S. troops to the Caribbean island in the stabilization effort. Despite this, the Haitian prime minister remains in Puerto Rico, with no government aiding his return due to its unsafe conditions.

The remaining hospitals in Haiti face low supply levels, including medicines and fuel for their generators, as they await international assistance to quell the violence.