On 12 January 2010, the island state of Haiti was hit by the worst earthquake for 200 years, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. The port of Léogâne, around 29 km west of Port-au Prince, was the epicentre of the catastrophe. Over 200,000 people died and up to 90% of buildings were destroyed, making most of the population homeless. In the weeks following the disaster, the deployment of basic civil protection modules such as high-capacity pumping, water purification, emergency shelters and field hospitals became crucial to respond to the catastrophe.
Cassidian’s Transhospital mobile medical unit – which can be customised from a one-container rescue station up to a 50-module field hospital – is ready to be sent to wherever disaster strikes. After being in Indonesia and the US in the aftermaths of the Southeast Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, another EADS donated Transhospital was set up in Haiti in February 2010. With a capacity to function autonomously for 72 hours, various medical experts participated in the design of this mobile unit, sharing their experiences with Cassidian’s engineering teams.
Operated by the NGO Malteser International, the Transhospital in Haiti consists of one container with space for 10 beds. First stationed in the city of Léogâne to meet acute medical needs, the mobile unit’s staff carried out mainly emergencies, surgery and gynaecological examinations. People, especially those in rural areas, had virtually no access to healthcare services. The earthquake had devastating effects on the health of the most vulnerable groups – women and children, with malaria, respiratory problems and diarrhoeal diseases being the main causes of death for the later.
After the acute emergency phase was over, the focus was shifted to communities in need in the hinterland of Léogâne. The donations collected by EADS and its employees also contributed to the funding of a Malteser International’s permanent clinic in Darbonne – around 30 km from Léogâne town - and another three mobile medical centres in nearby villages. From 16 July 2010 to 31 December 2011, a total of 44,045 consultations were carried out in the Transhospital and the other clinics.
Malteser International continues to work on various projects in the fields of health, hygiene and community development. The NGO is also encouraging the vaccinations for children and pregnant women which are being carried out in Haiti by a network of community health workers. In fact, between 2010 and 2011 4,592 children were vaccinated with the support of Malteser International’s volunteers. Meanwhile, minor surgeries are still carried out in the Transhospital.
The Transhospistal unit is now stationed besides a new maternity ward constructed by Malteser International. Furthermore, women have now continued access to mother-child health services and birth preparedness plans to better identify risks during pregnancy due to MCH (Mother and child health) activities in the new maternity. The nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women as well as infants and children under five has improved.