Haiti

In Haiti, virus crisis leaves cancer patients in limbo

In early March, 31-year-old Melchior visited a doctor in his home country of Haiti, complaining of headaches.

He underwent an MRI, and got his diagnosis several days later: a tumor in the pituitary gland, at the base of his brain. Melchior’s neurologists told him the surgery he needed could not be performed in the country, where the poorly funded health care system is ill-equipped to handle cancer patients. But with flights out of Haiti suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not clear whether the surgery can be performed anywhere else either.

And the clock is ticking.

Melchior is among the thousands of Haitian cancer patients who seek treatment abroad, and whose lives could now be at risk because of the crisis — but not the actual virus itself. “I had paid for my tickets to Cuba but the night before I was supposed to leave, the president said they had to close the borders, close the airports due to the pandemic,” Melchior told AFP in a telephone interview.

In early March, 31-year-old Melchior visited a doctor in his home country of Haiti, complaining of headaches.

President Jovenel Moise indeed announced a halt to all air travel on March 19, after Haiti’s first two confirmed cases were reported.

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
Mar. 30, 2020

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