Guest Voz: A new crisis in Haiti needs the world’s attention

LatinaLista — Ever since the devastating earthquake struck Haiti, the country and its people have been struggling to rebuild a better country than they had before.

Screen shot 2010-10-22 at 5.54.13 PM.pngIt hasn’t been easy. With widespread poverty, the destruction of schools and hospitals, the growth of the tent cities, along with, criminal gangs, Haiti didn’t need one more thing to make their recovery hard — but they got it anyway.

Cholera victim in Haiti waits outside on the blanketed ground to be seen by medical personnel.
(Photo: BBC News)

Today, it was confirmed that cholera has broken out in Haiti and so far has claimed 140 lives. It makes for a dangerous situation and one that needs to be combatted immediately with the proper medication and treatment.

At the height of the world’s response to Haiti, Latina Lista teamed with the International Medical Corps (IMC) to bring readers a firsthand account of what conditions were like in Haiti. It wasn’t long that the world, and Latina Lista readers, moved on to other stories. Yet, IMC has stayed in Haiti treating the sick and injured.

When news broke of the cholera epidemic, I contacted IMC to see what they were doing. They were a step ahead of me and had already produced a short blog post about how they are responding to this latest crisis in Haiti.

 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti — An International Medical Corps team is deploying with supplies to St. Marc, a coastal town in the Artibonite region of Haiti, where more than 1,526 cases and 138 deaths have been confirmed as the result of a cholera outbreak. As the only member of the UN emergency response team, International Medical Corps is ready to deploy a full Emergency Response team with doctors and nurses to the area within 24 hours, if needed.

“International Medical Corps is extremely concerned at the speed in which this outbreak spread,” says Dr. Jojo Cangao, International Medical Corps medical director in Haiti. “We have already begun community outreach and prepositioning of supplies in the camps in which we work in Port-au-Prince in case the outbreak moves south.” More than one million people have been living in displacement camps since the January 12 earthquake, which killed more than 300,000.

There are already reports of the outbreak moving south…

closer to Port-au-Prince, and International Medical Corps is pre-positioning supplies for orphanages in this area. Supplies, such as IV saline solution, water purification tablets, and oral rehydration salts, are being collected to dispatch to Artibonite if needed and to preposition in camps where International Medical Corps runs clinics.

International Medical Corps is also coordinating with partners in camps where it has clinics to begin community education campaigns on cholera prevention, identification, and treatment – and clinic staff are being trained in cholera treatment and management.

 

“We are prepared to support the emergency response to the cholera outbreak however is most needed, whether through medical personnel, supplies, or both,” says Dr. Cangao.

International Medical Corps has extensive experience in cholera outbreak response, management, and prevention, with its most recent responses in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Iraq.

Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are also one of its top organizational priorities, with such programs in countries including Haiti, Somalia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read more at International Medical Corps

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