Business & Economy

Not enough fuel to care for patients, Haitian hospitals warn

Port-au-Prince, Oct 24 (EFE).- A lack of fuel has become a new obstacle to healthcare access in Haiti, where generators powered by petroleum derivatives are the main source of electricity in institutions, private establishments and homes.

The organization Doctors of the World warned Sunday of the precarious situation in which there is little fuel left to guarantee hospital services.

According to a member of the organization who wished to remain anonymous, the arrival of fuel had been negotiated for Sunday, but access was blocked.

A nationwide mobilization is to take place from Monday to protest the shortage of fuel, and insecurity, in the country.

It is near impossible to buy fuel for vehicles, so healthcare personnel cannot get to clinics and hospitals, which are seeing fewer and fewer patients for the same reason.

A hospital without power can barely offer services because “everything is a chain. Medicines and other medical supplies cannot arrive, you cannot have anyone hospitalized because the machines do not work,” the Doctors of the World member told Efe.

The Association of Private Hospitals of Haiti, which groups together almost all the private and charitable centers of the metropolitan area of the capital, has requested the establishment of a fuel delivery corridor.

If they do not receive fuel, its 40 members, who provide more than 70 percent of all emergency and hospital care, will be forced to begin closing their services from Monday in the middle of a new wave of Covid-19, without oxygen supply and amid great insecurity.

On Saturday, the St. Damien and St. Luc hospitals reported that they only have 6,000 gallons (22,700 liters) of diesel in reserve and if fuel does not arrive (16,000 gallons were expected Sunday), on Tuesday pediatric services for more than 300 children, maternity care for about 45 women, and emergency services will have to be suspended, while more than 70 adults will have to be discharged.

The lack of energy further complicates an already tense and uncertain security situation that is also having a negative impact on healthcare access.

One of the biggest concerns now is communications being cut off, because mobile phone towers also running on fuel are going out of service.

The lack of fuel generated protests this week in the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince, where there were blockades of streets on Thursday with burning barricades.

Fuel on the black market is prohibitively expensive, going from 200 gourdes ($2) per gallon to 2,500 ($25.50) for the same amount, one more factor in the crisis in Haiti, where public transport has almost completely disappeared. EFEmmv/tw

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