Medical charity looks to the long term in Haiti

By staff writers
22 Jan 2010

One of the DEC member NGOs, Merlin, reports that its Haiti medical team has been "working tirelessly" to meet the overwhelming needs of Haitians - and that the charity is concerned with both long and short-term care.

Merlin's team of 17 specialists, including an orthopaedic surgeon, plastic surgeon, an anaesthetist, two A&E consultants and nurses, yesterday (21 January 2010) treated dozens of patients urgently in need of medical expertise, with more already lined up for today.

Aid worker Alex Cottin explained: "Looking back over the past few days and realising just how much we've been able to do – from partnering with local organisations to finding a suitable, secured area to operate in the midst of one of the worst hit areas, to actually saving life after life, I am truly amazed by how much we've accomplished."

As well as performing emergency surgery, the team is treating communicable diseases and respiratory infections.

Work is currently focused in three areas of acute need, says the NGO – Delmas 33, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, and Léogâne and Petit-Goâve, both coastal towns to the west of the capital.

Merlin is operating a surgical unit, triage for screening and referral, setting up mobile medical tents, as well as conducting further assessments to identify unmet needs.

Longer term plans are to continue working in these three areas to run a further two month surgical intervention; establish 11 static clinics; operate three mobile clinics in each area reaching out to people in the surrounding hinterland and to continue to distribute non-food items, including blankets and shelter.

All the Disasters Emergency Committee partners stress that continued giving is necessary to sustain rescue, recovery and development operations in Haiti. The UK appeal by DEC is now approaching £40 million.

To make a donation to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque made payable to 'DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal' to 'PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA'.

Anyone wanting to stay up to date with developments in Haiti, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts can follow the DEC on twitter at http://twitter.com/decappeal or become a "fan" of 'Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC' on Facebook.

DEC: http://www.dec.org.uk/

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