Last week major protests spread across Haiti after 30-50% increases in the price of fuel were announced. People already struggling to make ends meet were frustrated and angry by the sudden policy change that would affect all sectors of the economy. Protests, including road blockades, effectively shut down Port au Prince and many of the main highways in Haiti. Through it all St. Boniface Hospital's staff, nearly all of whom are Haitian, kept working, ensuring patients could get the care they needed.
With 30 medical staff stuck at their family's homes in Port au Prince when the protests broke out, the hospital was running with a skeleton crew. The medical teams on duty showed their determination by caring for every patient that arrived at the hospital in need, despite being short staffed and working double shifts. And the operations team worked around road blocks and other issues to make sure the hospital stayed stocked with essential supplies of fuel, oxygen, water, and food. "They truly showed what an impressive group of dedicated professionals they are, working through everything despite the challenges," reflected SBHF President/CEO Conor Shapiro.
The situation improved after a few days, with the roll-back of the fuel price increases. Staff were able to return to Fond des Blancs, and with the opening of the roads and a feeling of calm returning, patients also started making the trip up into the mountains again, to seek care at St. Boniface Hospital.
Yesterday our staff saw over 500 patients in the outpatient clinics, nearing the one-day record for patient visits. The wards are full, babies are being born, and people are returning for elective surgeries that had to be rescheduled during the few days of turmoil. The hospital is buzzing with activity, carrying on the daily work of saving lives. Get a glimpse of yesterday's busy hospital waiting areas in these photos: