Mar 1, 2010
Just six weeks after the earthquake, the U.S. and European governments are pulling medical support out of Haiti. The U.S. Navy’s medical ship, the USNC Comfort, has stopped accepting new patients.
Officials behind the pullout say the situation in Haiti is now entering a “second phase,” where the problem is no longer emergency medical needs, but preventing secondary public health problems.
It’s not true! Officials estimate that 25-30% of amputations done after the earthquake will have to be redone, because of infections resulting from the way the initial operations were carried out under completely unsanitary conditions. But even if it were true, vast amounts of medical help would be needed to prevent the spread of diseases like malaria and tuberculosis in the crowded tent cities, and diarrhea from the lack of unsanitary conditions. And to provide the prosthetics and therapy to people who have lost their limbs.
When everyone was looking, the governments from the wealthy countries paraded around like Haiti’s saviors. As soon as the publicity waned, they snuck out the back door.