Aquin Hospital rehabilitated after the earthquake
Badly damaged during the earthquake of 14 August 2021, the Aquin’s hospital was in dire need of repair. It has been upgraded by UNICEF.
“I like the hospital. I do my medical check-ups here and they help me a lot too. Here, I get good service. I have been followed here since 2020,” says Sophonie Joseph, 28, who has come for care at the Aquin Hospital.
Like thousands of other women and children, Sophonie Joseph experienced difficulties in accessing healthcare when Aquin's hospital was hard hit by the earthquake of 14 August 2021. More than 97 health institutions were damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster, leaving nearly 800,000 people including 340,000 children in need.
“During the earthquake, the hospital sustained significant damage,” says Claude Isophe, Administrator of the Aquin Community Reference Hospital. The pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery and gynecology departments could no longer function normally.
Less than 24 hours after the earthquake, UNICEF conveyed from the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince to the southwestern Haiti, a truck with six emergency medical kits containing essential and renewable drugs such as solutions, gloves, analgesics, antibiotics, syringes, etc. The three main hospitals in the Great South, namely the Immaculate Conception Hospital (HIC) and OFATMA in Les Cayes and the Saint-Antoine Hospital (HSA) in Jérémie, that gave emergency care to earthquake victims were provided with supplies to serve approximately 30,000 people for a period of three months.
The electricity and water supply systems had been repaired, allowing surgery and maternity services to function optimally again.
“The water pumping system has been upgraded because we had difficulty getting running water to the hospital after the earthquake. A waiting room has been set up so that patients can have a comfortable space to wait for their lab results,” underlined Jacquena Durant, Medical Director of the Aquin Hospital.
Aquin Hospital was rehabilitated by UNICEF as part of a project to fight Covid-19 launched in 2020 in hospitals in 10 departments, with funding from the department for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). In total, 33 health facilities are targeted, 30 of which have already been completed. The program is implemented by several partner NGOs including ACTED for health institutions in the south of the country.
The day after the natural disaster, it was necessary to respond to the emergency and allow Aquin Hospital to continue offering essential care. From the outset, basic services had to be provided, and it was critical to have a reception area for patients in the first hours following the earthquake.
“The support of UNICEF through the construction of a hangar allowed us to follow up and examine the patients without having to refer them elsewhere, which allowed us to keep our patients”, added Dr Durant.
The rehabilitation of Aquin Hospital offloaded the emergency services of Les Cayes, allowing to allocate more resources and medical personnel to the other affected areas.
One year after the earthquake, UNICEF distributed essential medical kits including medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, visors, orthopedic equipment, ambulances and generators to 40 health facilities in southwestern Haiti to close the gap in maternal, neonatal and child health care.