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Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) emergency wards in Haiti are still treating large numbers of patients, but the nature of their injuries or conditions is gradually changing. Fewer people are appearing with wounds caused by the earthquake and more are coming forward suffering from the indirect consequences of the disaster. MSF has seen an increase in the number of children suffering from diarrhea and more people are coming forward with physical symptoms of mental trauma. A few cases of tetanus – a very dangerous illness – have begun to emerge.

Immediately following Haiti’s devastating earthquake Médecins Sans Frontières teams worked around the clock to meet the overwhelming demand for severe trauma or orthopedic surgery. At the same time, MSF also provided emergency obstetric care for pregnant mothers, including performing more routine life-saving operations like caesarean sections.

As medical assistance moves into a second phase, with conditions finally improving for the practice of surgery and medicine, Joseph, Roberto and Philippe tell us how the teams have been treating their patients in the ruins of the Delmas district since Jan. 12, 2010.

Dr. Philippe Touchard is an anaesthetist and head of emergencies at the Pasteur Hospital in Langon, near Bordeaux. 48 hours after the earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, he flew to Haiti to reinforce Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) surgical teams in Port-au-Prince.

One of the emerging trends in Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) medical work in Haiti is the return to care for common illnesses and conditions amongst people coming to the hospitals and clinics. The gaps in the country's healthcare provision before the earthquake meant that MSF's emergency facilities were always busy. The disruption of so much of the most basic medical care means that alongside the continuing care for injuries from the quake there is also an influx of every kind of patient.

Jerry is seven, and was severely injured in the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. Trapped under the rubble when his house collapsed, he emerged with a severe open fracture to his femur.

Paul McPhun, an operations manager for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Haiti, speaks following the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince.
On January 12th a major earthquake, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, struck Haiti. The MSF teams already working in Port-au-Prince were able to provide immediate assistance to the injured, even though their facilities had collapsed.
In Haiti, MSF teams are working in Pacot, Choscal, Chancerelle and the general hospital. There are more than 700 national and international staff working on the ground to provide emergency medical care. Medical activities are continuing in the grounds of Trinité hospital.
The Port-au-Prince airport is still congested. Scores of planes are trying to land, but space is limited and fuel is scarce. Six MSF planes, carrying 85 tonnes of materials, have been redirected to the Dominican Republic.

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