Doctors treating injured victims of the earthquake in Haiti made an urgent appeal Friday for basic medicines.
Doctors are warning of a public health calamity as injured survivors go without proper treatment, said Elisabeth Byrs of the United Nations humanitarian co-ordination office in Geneva.
Estimates put the number of injured at about 200,000. Many needed amputations and now must get postoperative care.
Dr. Nancy Fleurancois, a Haitian-American doctor from New Jersey who is volunteering in the town of Jacmel, said her clinic treats about 500 people a day. Many of the injured are seeking medical aid for the first time since the Jan. 12 earthquake.
"You see people come here and they are at death's door," Fleurancois said. "More help is needed."
At the Bernard Mevs Hospital near the Port-au-Prince airport, administrator Kathleen Sejour said supplies of gloves, gauze, antiseptic, malaria medicine and treatments for amputees are all in short supply.
"There are too many patients we're seeing who have malaria," said Sejour. "Most of the kids right now have it."
Not every group providing medical aid is in need of aid. Doctors Without Borders and the International Federation of the Red Cross said they have adequate supplies.
Laurie Graham of CBC News said that without painkillers or antibiotics, there’s a great concern for infection. Medical professionals are concerned about disease spreading within the tent cities that have sprouted up across Haiti, she said.
"People are crowded in together," she said. "This is where they eat, sleep, go to the bathroom in all the same space, so the medical community is concerned about infectious disease. There's a lot of worry about what might happen in the weeks and months ahead."
"So that’s why doctors and volunteers are appealing for more medication here in Haiti as quickly as possible."
The official estimate of the number of dead from the quake is about 200,000.