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CEO update following insecurity in the north

On behalf of everyone at HHA and our partner hospital, HCBH, I’d like to start by thanking you for your faithful support and prayers in the last week. Despite increasing challenges, thanks to God and the hard work of the team, HCBH has still managed to remain open.

However, despite this positive news, we write with great sadness and concern following an incident at Milot Hospital, another private hospital close to HCBH which has been a leader in the provision of health care in northern Haiti for many years.  In the early hours of Monday morning, a gang dispute boiled over leading to extensive damage to several hospital departments, including to its laboratory, archives service and power grid.  This incident has tragically forced Milot to close, though we are not sure for how long. This is a major blow for northern Haiti, at a time when the health system was already severely crippled.

In the last year, HCBH has been working closely with Milot on COVID19 care, and following the security concerns, HCBH received 5 of Milot’s COVID patients.  For the second time in two weeks, many staff from Doctor to Porter again showed their incredible commitment to put the hospital first, working double shifts.  In the last 48 hours, the hospital team have been busy preparing for a likely influx of patients as we anticipate HCBH absorbing some of those who would otherwise have been at Milot.  This comes at a difficult time, where like many hospitals we have been running out of oxygen and still remain desperately low on fuel.  Every hour the team are closely monitoring the weather to maximise our solar generation at a time when even a single cloud can now cause significant challenges and use up more precious fuel.

We thought our supporters would want to be kept informed about this situation and we would encourage those who pray to continue joining with us, lifting up Milot and all its staff in the hope they can re-open soon. We also pray for HCBH and our team as they seek to help the region tackle this new challenge.  We ask that you continue praying for an improvement to the broader security situation.  We remain in daily contact with our Haiti team, reviewing and adapting our own security policy as the context changes.

As I’ve reflected on this situation today, I am reminded that it is no accident HHA have the word HOPE as the first word we use to define ourselves. I am always proud of what the local staff at HCBH achieve, but there have been a number of specific moments over the years where the hospital’s presence has felt especially important, whether in opening one of Haiti’s first spinal cord injury units after the 2010 earthquake, responding to the cholera epidemic or opening the COVID19 ward last year.  In all these moments, the darkness and sense of loss has at times felt indescribably large.  Yet, through the courage, faith and hard work of our team in Haiti, amidst these moments of seeming hopelessness, hope has always prevailed and some truly beautiful outcomes have emerged.  This seems to be another of those times and we will continue to press into this hope for all those at Milot and the coming days as HCBH once again responds to the best of its ability.

In my last email I mentioned how a close friend to HHA had required emergency obstetrical care at HCBH last week.  Even amidst these difficult times, I’m delighted to share mother and baby have now been successfully discharged.  Welcome to the world baby Cleveland and congratulations to your amazing family!  In the words of one of our team in Haiti, their story shows ‘what can be achieved in adversity if there is will, hope and prayer!’

Thanks again for your continued support,

Carwyn and the HHA team