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Haiti’s health system collapsing under weight of doctors’ strike

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3939 (Published 14 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i3939
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

In Haiti a medical residents’ strike, hospital closures, and a lack of basic medical supplies have left millions of patients with no realistic treatment options.

Most of the country’s public teaching hospitals have shut down and many staff are downing tools in sympathy with the striking residents, who earn just 7000 Haitian gourdes a month (£85; €100; $111) at the outset of residency, rising to a possible 9000 gourdes.

Among the closed hospitals is the country’s largest, Port-au-Prince’s Hospital of the State University of Haiti (HUEH), known locally as the General Hospital. Strike action began there in March when the hospital’s administrator allegedly slapped a resident during a dispute over a delayed test for a patient.

“None of the public hospitals around the country are functioning and no one is saying anything. Everyone is walking around like it’s no big deal,” HUEH’s executive director, Maurice Fils Mainville, told the Miami Herald.

The strike soon turned into a nationwide residents’ walkout, with strikers demanding pay rises, safer working conditions, …

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