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Medicine running out at Haiti hospitals, clinics

Associated Press

January 29, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Ś Doctors and aid workers say treating the tens of thousands of Haitians injured by the earthquake is taxing the country's devastated hospitals Ś as well as the efforts of physicians from around the world who are providing emergency care.

Basic medical supplies such as antibiotics and painkillers are running dangerously low at some hospitals and clinics in Port-au-Prince, the capital, and in the countryside, alarming doctors who are struggling to keep up with demand.

The shortages complicate the effort to treat 200,000 people in need of post-surgery care "and an unaccounted number of people ... with untreated injuries," Elisabeth Byrs, of the United Nations' humanitarian coordination office said today in Geneva.

Dr Nancy Fleurancois, volunteering at the damaged hospital in the Haitian coastal town of Jacmel, told a visiting UN official yesterday that her team is treating 500 people a day Ś many for the first time since the January 12 quake Ś and desperately needs antibiotics and surgical supplies.

"You see people come here and they are at death's door," said Fleurancois, a Haitian-American from Newark, Delaware. "More help is needed."

The doctor aired her concerns to Anthony Banbury, deputy head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, during his tour of Jacmel, where more than 20,000 people are homeless.

Banbury said later he would try to resolve her shortages, but noted there is a "grave need" for medicine all over Haiti. Aid workers say the need for medicine generally falls third behind water and tents for shelter from the blistering tropical sun and looming rains.

The reason the supplies are not reaching people is the same: The need is too great and it's just not possible to get them into Haiti fast enough or distributed in a country with ruined infrastructure.

The struggle to treat people comes amid warnings of a potential public health calamity with tens of thousands of Haitians living in squalid camps where there is a big concern about sanitation due to limited water supplies, Byrs said Friday.





:: Article nr. 62740 sent on 29-jan-2010 21:04 ECT

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Link: www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Medicine-running-out-at-Haiti-hospitals--clinics--



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