Two years after Haiti quake, health system 'in disarray'

January 11, 2012

The number of hospitals in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince two years after its earthquake are not sufficient to serve the population, Medecins sans Frontieres said Wednesday.

"According to health standards, we need a hospital for every 150,000 ," Kenneth Lavelle, responsible for the coordination of projects in Haiti for the international medical organisation, told AFP.

"Today, there are only four hospitals open for all in Port-au-Prince", which has a population of some three million people, he noted.

Access to health care remains difficult in the rest of the country two years after the that struck on January 12, 2010, killing at least 200,000 people in Haiti.

In , "access to free care is a real problem," Lavelle said.

There are, however, "private facilities", as well as nonprofit organizations that ask minimum charges from patients for medical help.

Even so, "people cannot afford" to go to such institutions, according to Lavelle.

He acknowledged, however, that even before the earthquake struck, "the need was huge."

Two years after the disaster, the risks remain in the field of construction, according to John Harding of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. "The main factors are still there," he told AFP.

Pointing to a lack of control by construction authorities, Harding said, "the constitution and institutions didn't change." He noted, "The actors are the same... Lots of building is done informally."

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