Port au Prince, Haiti – Hundreds of Haitians with various health problems, from diabetes to gunshot wounds, lined up on Friday in hopes of being treated by medical personnel aboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship of the US Navy, which docked at the capital Port-au-Prince a few days ago as part of its last stop of a five-month medical mission.
The US Navy's floating hospital has visited Haiti six times over the past 10 years. His most recent mission comes at a critical time when violent protests and street barricades have caused several hospitals in the country to run out of medical supplies, forcing some of them to close temporarily while protesters continue to demand resignation. of the president Jovenel Moïse.
Among those who expected to receive free medical care was Miga Alfred, 33, whose 3-month-old baby has hydrocephalus. The two live in the coastal town of Jacmel, in the south of the country, and had been traveling since 4 in the morning.
"Hopefully, my baby will be taken care of”Said Alfred while breastfeeding his only daughter.
Other people were not so lucky. Waiting for his turn in a row of more than 100 people, Mario Brega, 35, said he has prostate cancer. It was the second time this week that was formed, after traveling for more than six hours by bus from the southern town of Cavaillon.
"This has cost me money, and I'm not sure I will be able to see a doctor," he said, as police told him to return to the line, where some crowded under some umbrellas and others put towels on the head to protect from the intense sun.
On board the ship, there were a staff of 900 people, which included US military specialists and volunteers from non-governmental organizations, according to the US Navy.
The team served people like Hilairesie Mondesir, 68, who said he has not been able to afford a medical consultation in more than a decade.
"Everything hurts," he said. "I do not feel good at all".
Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Lores said the team has been addressing all kinds of health problems, including chronic diseases and diabetic injuries.
"We see the need of the country," he said.
The ship's mission in Haiti concludes on November 12. He has previously been to countries in Central and South America, and in other Caribbean nations.
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