PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI - Since the cholera outbreak was first detected last week, PIH and its Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante have been on the ground responding to the crisis. As of Monday night, a total of 3,612 cholera patients have been hospitalized throughout Haiti, with 273 reported deaths. Most of the hospitalizations and deaths have been concentrated in the Lower Artibonite region where PIH operates three hospitals in partnership with Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).
PIH’s procurement team has been working around the clock to supply health centers in the areas most affected by the epidemic with what they need to treat the hundreds of patients streaming in each day. PIH Procurement Manager Jon Lascher reported that in addition to PIH’s three health facilities in the Lower Artibonite, PIH is also providing supplies to eight additional community centers surrounding St Marc. The supply situation at PIH’s hospital in St Marc is currently stable, he added.
PIH’s efficiency at procuring supplies is aided by over two decades experience on the ground in Haiti, as well as protocol and infrastructure established following the January 12 earthquake. “Compared to the earthquake the diversity of products [needed] is much smaller, but the quantity of products needed is staggering,” Lascher said.
Community outreach continues to be a priority for the PIH team, as access to both medical facilities and clean water continues to be a major challenge.
Other highlights from reports on the ground:
· 42 water trucks, each holding 1,200 gallons of potable water, have reached 15 communities in the region most affected by the outbreak, thanks to our partners at the nonprofit Yele Haiti. Permanent water filters have been installed at three communities, in partnership with Operation Blessing.
· Community health workers, social workers, and community volunteers have been mobilized in affected areas. By driving trucks with loudspeakers playing community education campaigns about cholera, and tireless outreach to individual homes, schools, churches, and community gathering places, the team continues to spread the word of how to prevent cholera, and bring access to clean water to isolated communities.
· Starting today, PIH’s teams at St. Marc and Petite Riviere are training over 600 community health workers (ajan santé and Accompagnateurs) on community prevention of cholera. Topics include: helping cholera patients get care they need, preventing the transmission of cholera and decontaminating homes. This training will enable the MSPP’s prevention messages to get out to many more individuals in communities most affected.
· PIH is preparing to do community outreach in the Central Plateau and Port-Au-Prince in an effort to prevent the spread of the epidemic to other parts of the country. PIH has created eight different radio messages, which are now being played on many radio stations, with help from the MSPP.
· In remote areas, oral rehydration posts are being set up to supply patients with clean water and oral rehydration. For patients with more serious cases, who may be unable to be treated orally, stabilization posts are also being established. These posts will be staffed with a nurse who will be able to administer IV fluids.
· In the central plateau, the public medical facility operated by PIH in Lacolline has seen 90 cholera cases since the epidemic began, and currently has only 15 cholera in-patients. Many of those infected were inmates at the prison in Mirebalais. The situation has improved dramatically—there have been no patients admitted from the prison in the last 48 hours. Prisoners have potable water, their cells have been cleaned, and infection control has been instituted.
About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.