Amidst a doctors’ strike and a hurricane in Haiti, a story of one couple’s determination to bring health care to the island.
In May 2016, when I heard the news of the doctors’ strike taking place in Haiti, my heart sank. Doctors, nurses and medical residents had been on strike since March as they protested low wages and demanded better working conditions, leading to the shutdown of Haiti’s largest hospitals. And now, as the news of the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew floods in from Haiti, ever more families need access to health care and medicine as quickly as possible.
Since the strike began, hospitals have essentially closed, and Haitians in need of medical care have been left to compete to get into NGO-run hospitals whose facilities are overwhelmed, with no room for patients or enough resources to treat the abundance of injured and ill that fill the waiting rooms.
After spending the last six years working at a medical clinic near Jacmel, in Haiti’s Sud-Est Department, I knew firsthand just how desperately Haitians needed a reliable health care system and how devastating a strike of such magnitude must have been affecting the country.