Haiti – Social : Strike to the HUEH, unions and authorities remain on their positions

Union members of nursing staff and of the union of health workers of the Hospital of the State University of Haiti (HUEH), on strike since July 6, 2011, have held Friday a day of reflection in the perspective of the resumption of activities in the institution.

Rose Bernard Belot of the Union of Nurses [of support] and Félix Lévy Milot, of the Union of Health Workers, argue that the strikers remain firmly attached to their claims, among other things : the dismissal of Dr. Alix Lassegue, Executive Director of HUEH and of Marlene Thompson, the Administrator of the hospital.

For his part Dr. Alix Lassègue states that “the strike only concerns the support staff,” adding that the caregivers are not on strike as it is suggested.

According to Lévy Milot Félix, the current situation not only disrupts the functioning of the hospital but also penalizes the students from the Faculty of Medicine [residents and interns] who study in this hospital. He also denounced a plan of the health authorities aiming to close and demolish the HUEH to rebuild it.

Dr. Alex Larsen, Minister of Health, confirmed that it was true that a project to demolish the HUEH was under consideration, this project proposes two options that are being analyzed: either the complete demolition and reconstruction of the new modern hospital, over a period of two years, which would require a contingency plan for patients, or the gradual reconstruction of the HUEH which would require 5-6 years of work.

The reconstruction of HUEH, a project of more than 50 million U.S. dollars, is supported by the United States for $ 25 million, France $ 25 million and the Government of Haiti for a contribution of just over 3 million dollars.

Regarding the request of the unions to dismiss members of the Directorate or of the Board, of the HUEH, the Minister is clear, saying there was no question to do that because the small staff request it.

The unionist Lévy Milot Félix warns the Head of Government that “the interns, residents, the small staff will demonstrate against you, Mr. President, if you close the hospital as the adepts of the neoliberal plan around you want it…”

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