Haiti: MSF opens a surgical referral centre in Port-au-Prince to reinforce access to emergency care


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has officially opened a new emergency trauma, orthopaedic and visceral surgery referral centre in the Tabarre neighbourhood, in the east of Haiti’s capital.

Named ‘Nap Kenbe’ – Creole for  staying well – the surgical referral centre is the third facility providing emergency treatment to be opened by MSF in Port-au-Prince since the earthquake of 12 January 2010, and its fourth in the Ouest department.

Work on the 107-bed Nap Kenbe centre began in 2011 and was completed in February 2012. The centre treats victims of accidental trauma, such as falls and road accidents, and victims of violence, such as beatings, assaults and bullet wounds. “MSF is now supporting the Ministry of Public Health and Population with 600 hospital beds in Haiti for emergency care. This is still far from adequate, but is nevertheless an advance,” says Gaëtan DROSSART, MSF’s head of mission in Haiti.

In a country where 75 percent of the population live below the poverty line, and where referral facilities are vastly inadequate, MSF’s new centre will improves access to surgical care for the population of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. “By bringing together Haitian health professionals and high tech equipment, the Nap Kenbe centre makes it possible to deliver high quality care in a city where many Haitians have had no access to emergency trauma treatment,” says Drossart. “At a time when the Haitian government and donors are working to rebuild the country, it is essential to deal with the shortcomings in high quality and accessible medical care for a very impoverished population.”

MSF has been working in Haiti since 1991, responding to crises and natural disasters. After the earthquake of 2010, MSF launched the largest emergency operation in its history. Today, MSF delivers emergency care in Port-au-Prince and Léogâne. In Port-au-Prince, MSF runs emergency trauma centres in the poor neighbourhood of Martissant and in Drouillard hospital near Cité Soleil slum, assisting those injured by violence and road accidents. MSF also runs a referral centre for obstetric emergencies in Delmas, to help combat high rates of maternal mortality. In Léogâne, MSF runs a hospital providing emergency surgical care, obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics. During the cholera epidemic of 2010-11, MSF treated more than 30 percent of the country’s cholera patients. As the rainy season approaches, MSF remains ready to respond to any recurrence of the epidemic.