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Four in every five people who sought free medical and psychological care at the MSF Pran Men'm clinic had been raped."We would like sexual violence to be recognised as a public health problem because there is not a lot of health services and care available for patients," said Carl Frederic Casimir, deputy medical coordinator at the clinic.

MSF responded to urgent medical needs in Haiti, where a weak health system was further hampered by strikes in public hospitals and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in October.

MSF carried out an emergency response to the hurricane, supporting Port-à-Piment hospital and running mobile clinics in southern Haiti.

Life was already rough for women and their babies before the hurricane. There are not even vaccines to give to babies.¨ But she was fortunate. Lizaire is one of 10 midwives deployed by UNFPA, in coordination with the government, to assist women in the hurricane-devastated departments of Grand'Anse and Nippes. Lizaire, a nurse-midwife, provides prenatal consultations at a local dispensary, and also tries to raise awareness of her services so that pregnant women know to call on her when they are in labour. In the last two weeks, in addition to working daily at the dispensary, she has also served aboard three mobile clinics and carried out about 30 home visits.

The country has the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the Western Hemisphere. She happened to be visited by a midwife, Kétia Lizaire, the day she went into labour. ¨The home birth delivery rate will necessarily increase after the hurricane,” she told UNFPA. She has also reached out to traditional birth attendants, encouraging them to direct pregnant women to the dispensary for prenatal consultations.

By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA, July 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Rampant sexual violence in Haiti against women and children, including some toddlers, should be treated as a public health issue and more care made available for survivors, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said.

Most of the 1,300 survivors of sexual violence who had been treated at one clinic run by MSF in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince since it opened in May 2015 are younger than 25, and more than half are children, according to a MSF report this month.Teams worked at two centers in Delmas and maintained rapid response capacity in case of emergency.In Haiti, sexual violence is a neglected medical emergency.In Haiti, sexual violence is a neglected medical emergency and the number of cases is greatly underestimated in official statistics.MSF is working to improve the availability of services in this field and raise community awareness, emphasising in particular the need for victims to seek medical care within 72 hours of being attacked.There is a shortage of nursing staff and resources in public facilities, and private clinics remain unaffordable for the majority.

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