Audio: Influx of support for Haiti’s State University Hospital not enough – and will it last?


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I spent a few days at Port-au-Prince’s only public hospital this past week. A heartening and heart-wrenching experience. My report for yesterday’s Free Speech Radio News broadcast:

MP3. Also, I want to share why I love working for an organization like FSRN (besides their great editors). This piece prompted a medical worker in Port-au-Prince to send the following feedback by e-mail:

I am listening to your radio broadcast this morning and there is a report about Port Au Prince, where I am currently working as a nurse. I was horrified to hear the the reporter (at 7:21 a.m. Haiti time) state that there has been a huge influx of money into the medical system in Haiti. This statement is overstating the situation and if you would like to see this “huge” influx of money, which I assure you does NOT exist, please come visit us. I am currently working at the Project Medishare Hospital and I assure you there is no great flow of aid assisting the Haitians. This grossly misrepresents the situation here and you should be ashamed for reporting that there is aid allowing Haitians to access medical care that could even barely compare to the US system.

Good points all – except that “huge” was never mentioned in the report. My substitute editor, Shannon Young, promptly wrote back:

I am writing on behalf of Free Speech Radio News as the editor responsible for the segment you have commented on.

First, allow me to express my sincere appreciation for the work you are currently performing in Haiti.

Second, thank you for taking the time to email your feedback because it gives me a chance to clarify a few points.

I am including a full transcript of the news report below for reference. You can also find the audio here: http://www.fsrn.org/audio/despite-assistance-health-care-haiti-still-struggles-meet-needs/6785

At no time did the report qualify the influx of aid as “huge” and at least two sources interviewed in the report made it clear that the current system is well below the US standard. The point that was made is that the general hospital is now able to offer services for free that had to be paid for in the past…but that there is no security that such services can retain their level of accessibility after June.

I hope this clarifies the report’s representation of the situation.

Thank you for your time and your service.

And finally we received this reply back:

Thank you so very much for passing this on and for sending me the
response. It genuinely makes me happy to know that you guys and FSRN
care enough to read the emails and I am going to read the entire
transcript, as I may have misheard or misinterpreted some of the
information (I was typing as the reporter was talking and sincerely
thought he used the phrase “huge influx of aid”). There are so many
misleading reports about the situation in Haiti and once I have read
the transcript thoroughly I would like to know if it is okay to send
you an update (factual rather than emotional) about the report. I
don’t have Shannon’s direct email address and if you could please
forward this note, I would greatly appreciate it!

We are working so very hard here and just by accident I found your
online radio broadcast, which I enjoy and adore! I am even more
impressed now because of your quick response and Shannon’s reply to my
email. We have very little in the way of news/media here and when I
can get a connection, I tune in to detour!

Please keep Haiti in your thoughts – things are not getting better
here, quite frankly they are getting worse.

Also, if you know of anyone who would like to investigate a disturbing
situation – ask them to look into the Red Cross and where the millions
of dollars in relief aid for Haiti has really been spent. jVery
little is being spent for relief efforts in Haiti, which very few
people realize (even though the Red Cross makes public its financial
reports). I’ve asked Senator Grassley’s office to investigate their
practices — specific to donations/aid allegedly collected for Haiti
(because his office has previously looked into their questionable
practices). Any additional legitimate investigators/reporters that
put pressure on the subject could be instrumental in getting that aid
directed to Haiti, therefore saving the many lives at risk.

Again, thank you and please pass on my thanks to Shannon for the quick response!

I’ll be contacting the medical worker soon to see if we can look into Red Cross spending. But really: independent, alternative, non-corporate media for the win.

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