Cholera Outbreak In Haiti
October 25, 2010
The Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE), South Florida Chapter, remains very concerned about the recent outbreak of cholera in Haiti.
A high-ranking member of the Association has traveled to Haiti for the purpose of making a first-hand assessment of the crisis. We also have remained in contact with Haitian officials for updates on this crisis as it unfolds. A major shipment of intra-venous fluids and antibiotics was sent to Haiti earlier this year in June in anticipation of such outbreaks since they are common after disasters like the recent earthquake in Haiti.
We have offered our expertise on the matter to the Haitian authorities and are awaiting further instructions on how we can best participate constructively in the overall response.
We have assembled a group of experts for media outreach and education.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
AMHE South Florida Chapter
AMHE REPORT ON CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN HAITI
Dr J. Pierre-Paul Cadet
1st Vice-President of the Central Executive Committee,
Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE)
October 28, 2010
The CHOLERA OUTBREAK involves the Center and Artibonite Departments, which are two of the ten territorial divisions of Haiti. The onset of this unfortunate disease, of unclear origin, that started less than a week ago, requires a swift response.
Early Saturday morning, as the first Vice-President of AMHE, I boarded a plane from Miami to the Capital of Haiti and by mid-day was among the Urgency Team at the Center of Coordination at Bourdon, Port-Au-Prince, headed by Dr Claude Surena. A team of Doctors composed of: Dr Claude Surena, Coordinator and also President of AMH; Dr Ariel Henri, Cabinet Chief of the Ministry of Health; Dr Thierry Roels, from the CDC; Dr Jean-Francois Schemann, Advisor to Minister of Health Alex Larsen from the French Embassy; A Representative from Partners In Health; A Representative from International Red Cross; A Representative from OMS/OPS (WHO); Dr Gerald Lerebours and Dr Jean-Hughes Henrys from Ministry of Health had to work on a Contingency plan to keep the disease confined to the areas already affected and avoid a spreading to elsewhere, mainly the tents cities or camps where a total of more than a million and half people have been displaced after the tragic January 12 earthquake. A strategic plan has been elaborated to meet the challenges, although the biggest ones still remained such as: Rapid transportation of patients from their places to an adequate center to facilitate any support and treatment, also the control of infected products to avoid any contamination.
The strategic plan consists of:
1) Health promotion and prevention
2) Protocols definition and standardized model of care to control the epidemic nature of the disease.
3) Operational organization of services to control the disease.
The health promotion and prevention requires an aggressive Media participation as well churches, community leaders, for a rapid and simple diffusion of the messages mostly based on hygiene, education on the type of foods and cooking methods, drinking and farming water.
The protocols and standardized care involve patients ‘reference, also elimination of mucus and feces, and training of health agents under the partnership with multiple organizations.
The operational organization, being the most complex part of the response, has to deal with the daily load (log) of cases (infected and dead); the sites in Port-Au- Prince and periphery; the identification of capability of existing centers for reference purpose in densely-populated areas; logistics for transportation, including deployment sites; tentative of isolation areas; management of “entrants” and medications; manpower based on the local/regional or departmental needs.
The concept has been reviewed and accepted by all participants of the team and presented at the October 24th briefing to more than 25 concerned and media representatives.
Giving today’s economic hardship and lingering uncertainties, many people are postponing personal plans to visit these affected areas. The AMHE is committed to provide a much needed support by:
A) Establishing a “human resources” system where:
The AMHE Medical relief mission is in “high alert” and members can be quickly deployed
The AMHE will collaborate with the Haitian-American Nurses Association to form a contingency team.
The AMHE will also join as a team with other healthcare volunteers.
B) Providing necessary teaching on:
1) Basic hygiene such as frequent hand-washing with soap, clean clothing, use of
disinfected latrines, use of chlorine-based tablets or similar chemicals to purify usable
2) Oral rehydration salts for early or initial treatment of symptoms.
3) Inspection of rivers as main source of water supply in rural or remote areas.
Decent housing for the needy.
Promoting a massive vaccination campaign against Cholera.
Verification of International Immunization cards for all visitors, especially those from countries with high risks for endemic/epidemic Cholera.
The Cholera has so seen some 2394 patients with 208 dead on October 23, to reach a progressive number of 3,495 and 398 dead on October 26, 2010 creating a panicky situation in all Haitian communities , in the motherland as well as abroad.
It definitely takes a teamwork to counteract the psychological, health and social effects of Cholera. AMHE is ready and up to the task.
Updated information will follow on a regular basis as they become available.