Doctors Without Borders says a conflict with a group of Delaware-based physicians in Haiti was all a misunderstanding.
A team of Delaware-based doctors treating patients at a hospital in Jacmel, Haiti has resolved a conflict with the aid organization, Doctors Without Borders.
Several doctors from Delaware erected a makeshift clinic on the grounds of St. Michel hospital in Haiti last week. According to reports from a News Journal reporter who’s following the team, Doctors Without Borders came in and asked the team to leave so it could manage operations.
U.S. politicians and other aid organizations intervened. Congressman Mike Castle says his wife heard of the eviction, and got his staff to appeal to the federal government for intervention.
Castle: There was some threat that they wouldn’t be allowed to continue in the hospital, which they essentially put together in order to serve people. That got the attention of everybody and certainly motivated us to help in any way we could.
Doctors Without Borders says there was a misunderstanding, and both groups can work together. Jason Cone is the communications director for the aid agency.
Cone: It’s not hard to believe that through a mix of language barriers, around the clock work, that there might be a miscommunication between the different people working on the ground.
A leading medical journal has criticized aid groups in Haiti for their lack of collaboration. Rhona MacDonald is an editor of the journal The Lancet, and she wrote a recent editorial about the lack of cooperation among aid groups. MacDonald says she isn’t familiar with the Delaware team’s situation, but competition is common.
MacDonald: Rather than working properly in collaboration to try and help the most people, the large, and I should say it’s usually the large aid agencies involved, treat it as a competition.
The Delaware team will keep working at the makeshift clinic on the hospital grounds. Doctors Without Borders says hospital officials have asked them to re-supply and staff its facility. The Delaware team is expected back in the First State later this week.