Spread the love

Faith Nyasuguta

Haiti’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Garry Conille, and the nation’s police chief made a significant visit to the country’s largest hospital on Tuesday, following the announcement that authorities had reclaimed the facility from armed gangs over the weekend.

Haitian Police Chief Normil Rameau revealed at a press conference on Monday that police had regained control of the Hospital of the State University of Haiti, also known as the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, on Sunday night. This marked the end of months of increasing attacks by armed groups. 

Rameau stated confidently that Haitians would soon “wake up one morning and find the operation done, the bandits stopped, and neutralized.” He did not take questions from the media during the briefing but was accompanied by Kenyan officer Godfrey Otunge. 

Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille, center, and Police Chief Normil Rameau, center left, are surrounded by security as they arrive Tuesday to the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti /AP/

Otunge emphasized that the U.N.-backed contingent of Kenyan police is committed to collaborating with Haitian authorities and both local and international partners dedicated to rebuilding Haiti.

The hospital, recognizable by its green and white exterior, had been left in a state of disrepair by the gangs. Beds were stripped of their mattresses, ceiling fans lay on the floor, and the building’s interior was littered with debris and damaged lighting fixtures. 

Bullet holes riddled the hospital walls and nearby buildings, indicating fierce clashes between police and gangs. Located just across the street from the national palace, the hospital had been the site of numerous violent confrontations over the past five months.

Prime Minister Conille described the hospital’s condition as resembling “a war zone.” Council member Louis Gèrald Gilles, who accompanied Conille on Tuesday’s visit, announced that the hospital should be fully operational by February 2026. 

/The Guardian/

Before the gang takeover, the hospital served approximately 1,500 people daily, providing essential care to those who could not afford private medical services. “This hospital is not for the rich, it’s for the poor,” Conille emphasized. “These are people that need serious help that can’t go see a private doctor.”

The relentless attacks by criminal groups have pushed Haiti’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse. The escalating violence has led to a surge in patients with serious illnesses and a critical shortage of resources to treat them. 

Gangs have been looting, setting fires, and destroying medical institutions and pharmacies throughout the capital, controlling up to 80% of the area. The health system, already fragile before the violence, now faces additional challenges with the onset of the rainy season, which is likely to exacerbate conditions and increase the risk of water-borne diseases.

Poor hygiene conditions in camps and makeshift settlements have heightened the risk of diseases like cholera, with over 84,000 suspected cases reported in the country, according to UNICEF. In addition to the hospital, gunmen have seized police stations, attacked the main international airport (which was closed for nearly three months), and stormed Haiti’s two largest prisons.

In April, a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Haiti reported to The Associated Press that staff had been forced to reduce the number of outpatients they treated daily from 150 to 50. People lined up outside the hospital each day, risking being shot by gang members as they waited for medical care. The violence has displaced nearly 580,000 people since March, according to a report from the U.N. migration agency.

/VOA News/

The reclamation of the General Hospital is a significant victory for Haiti, symbolizing a step towards restoring order and providing essential services to its citizens. However, the challenges remain immense as the country continues to grapple with the widespread influence of armed gangs and the critical need for stable governance and infrastructure rebuilding.


About Author

Faith Nyasuguta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *