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Hope or hopeless?

The following blog has been written by one of our team in Haiti:

On the 21stOctober the New York Times published an article entitled ‘There Is No Hope: Crisis pushes Haiti to the brink of collapse.’ 

Since September the country has faced national lockdowns, a meagre supply of fuel and skyrocketing food prices (up 34% since last year). Schools have been shut. Some pupils go secretly to school, but without their uniforms or bags for fear of attack. The staff at HHA’s partner hospital do not wear uniforms to work either and the struggle to find public transport to work is difficult. Staff have passed through dangerous areas where opposition gangs have been fighting, placing themselves at risk to ensure they can continue providing care to our patients. 

The wounded frequently come to our hospital. With scarce fuel, there have been many days where the hospitals electrical system batteries have flashed low.  But, on so many occasions when we've been on final reserves, fuel somehow has arrived on a truck, hard fought by the logistics staff.  Last Saturday a young woman died on the operating table in an emergency surgery. The surgeon cited a lack of blood as a primary cause, hard to find at the best of times, almost impossible now with the country on lock down.

But is the article, right? Is there really no Hope in Haiti? And if we see it, is that through the rose-tinted glasses of our charity name… HOPE health action? As you read on, you can decide for yourself.

Hope: Leading from the front.

The hospital’s medical director is no stranger to the intense hardships of Haiti. Every weekday he has made it in on the back of multiple motorbikes, walking through roadblocks, making it in to see patients and encourage staff. During the morning he sees sick children at the government hospital, before battling over to help with ward rounds and management at HHA’s partner hospital, including consulting on some of the sickest babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unity (NICU). It is hard but not hopeless.

Hope: Open for business.

So far the hospital has been the only one in the area to keep all main services running.  The emergency department has been busy receiving those injured from the protests, as has the operating theatres. The maternity theatre continues to provide emergency C-sections and the NICU is providing therapy to very unwell babies. Administration staff have been finding ways to come in, even when some were unwell from being recently gassed in passing from nearby protests. The labs continue to run critical tests and the logistics team are working hard every day to source fuel to keep the generator running. It is hard but not hopeless.  Read on to find out how you can help keep the hospital open this Christmas...

Hope: Projects continue.

Some skilled volunteers have been at work. Thanks to Plumber George the hospital incinerator has been made operational in the last week, as has a water purification system to provide clean drinking water for staff and patients. Electrician Paul has been working to optimise the solar to reduce generator demand and has been able to install greater capacity to power the hospital on batteries, so critical when fuel is now so often a luxury. It is hard but not hopeless.

Hope: A greater hope.

Last Saturday I prayed with the young woman before her emergency operation. Her pastor had seen her that morning and they knew her condition was very serious and the surgery was high risk. The pastor told us she had a hope of heaven as a Christian. At midday everyday in the hospital there is a service in the chapel, songs are sung and hope is taught. Frequently administration are praying for practical help and hope. They have seen these prayers answered daily through on-going provision of resources urgently needed to stay open. For many staff, this greater hope is what keeps them persevering and keeping vital services open, even in the face of such difficulties. It is hard but not hopeless.

The future?

What do the next few weeks and months hold? This week there are calls on social media for increased violence. Threats are being made of gunfire in the street if anyone ventures out to work. The president holds onto power as the nation protests every day for his resignation. Nobody seems to know what is next. But everyone agrees the times look hard.  We pray that even if hard, they will never be without hope.

In the coming weeks we'll be launching our Christmas Appeal which will be focusing on the need for hope in Haiti, particularly for mothers and babies were access to care is becoming harder and harder. Could your church, school or workplace join with us and stand with our hospital in Haiti this Christmas? Pop back soon to hear more.