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Medical supplies are trapped in Haitian ports as NGOs struggle with paperwork and delays

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3820 (Published 15 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3820
  1. Sophie Arie
  1. 1London

    Medical supplies sent to Haiti since the January earthquake are remaining trapped in customs for months, disrupting aid efforts and costing NGOs (non-governmental organisations) large sums in storage costs.

    Some 15 000 pairs of spectacles and 12 000 eye drops donated by medical organisations in the US and transported with funds from the Bill Clinton Foundation, are sitting in a container at the port in the capital Port au Prince where they arrived in early April.

    The Haitian Society of Ophthalmology, which intended to use the supplies to treat people living in tented camps around the capital, was told its paperwork was incomplete. Having provided additional documents and met health ministry officials, the society says it has been told repeatedly the goods would be released. But at the time this article went to press they were still being held. …

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