One of the unintended consequences of the outpouring of international support for Haiti is the strain it puts on local businesses. One of these stories is profiled by The Washington Post: Jerry and Marlon Bitar are twin brothers and run a medical practice in Port-au-Prince. In the weeks after the earthquake, they performed more than 900 surgeries at no cost.
The bad news for the Bitars? The humanitarian organizations are still there, offering medical care for free. Many of their formerly paying clients are getting free attention from aid agencies.
The Bitars ask what appears to be a simple question: How can the country's medical structure be rebuilt when hundreds of humanitarian teams are still providing health care for free? The surgeons say they have no income -- not from the poor and not from their private practice. For one, 700,000 people are now homeless with no access to funds. For another, the hospitals, the Bitars and others say, are finding it hard to compete with the visitors. With no end in sight, some of the nation's doctors have already left, and others are considering leaving.
Aid organizations have been defending themselves, arguing that their presence is more likely to help set stable health systems in place, not detract from those efforts.