WASHINGTON - Stepping up its response to a cholera outbreak that continues to claim lives in Haiti, the American Red Cross HAS announced an additional $7.4 million in cholera-related programs and partnerships.
With these new cholera prevention and treatment programs, which will be implemented across the country, the American Red Cross has now spent and signed agreements to spend over $11.4 million – part of its commitment to spend a total of $14.4 million to support cholera programs in Haiti.
The Haitian Ministry of Health reports more than 4,000 dead and more than 209,000 cases as a result of the outbreak, which began in late October. Three months later, the mortality rate has fallen but new cases continue to be reported, particularly in rural areas of the country. The new programs and partnerships target vulnerable communities in multiple regions.
The American Red Cross will directly implement more than $4.3 million of new cholera-related programs, including:
Expansion of an existing program of educational outreach to vulnerable communities through teams of hygiene promoters. Working in partnership with the Haitian Red Cross, the American Red Cross will manage more than 500 Red Cross hygiene promoters. Their goal is to reach more than 377,000 households by the end of 2011 with a focus on cholera prevention, as well as distribution of supplies that will help stem the spread of the disease, including soap, aquatabs and oral rehydration salts (ORS).
Establishment of 250 posts/distribution points within communities for ongoing provision of the oral rehydration salts.
Training of 1,500 Haitian Red Cross volunteers to administer these posts/distribution points.
Referral of suspected cholera cases to cholera treatment facilities.
Initial plans call for the program to be implemented in Port-au-Prince, as well as several departments or regions across the country (including the West, North and Northeast).
The American Red Cross is also providing more than $3.1 million to support in new cholera-related programs in collaboration with partner organizations. This includes $1.5 million for programs with Save the Children, which will focus on cholera prevention and treatment activities in and around Leogane over the next six months. In addition, it includes $1.6 million for programs with International Medical Corps (IMC), which will focus cholera prevention and treatment (including water and sanitation) on the West and South departments over the next 12 months.
A few highlights of these programs include:
Establishment and operation of a number of 15-20 bed cholera treatment units in rural areas around Leogane.
Establishment of oral rehydration posts in rural areas around Leogane, with referral systems set up to send patients to treatment facilities.
Funding of cholera prevention education and distribution of cholera-prevention supplies by community health workers and health promoters.
Providing small grants to local organizations to assist them with community outreach and awareness about cholera prevention, as well as support projects to develop water and sanitation infrastructure development in the West and South departments.
Improving access to safe water and sanitation in order to control infection.
Construction or rehabilitation of latrines, showers and hand-washing facilities at targeted health facilities in the West and South departments.
Establishment of water kiosks in targeted communities.
These new programs and partnerships will expand upon $3.8 million in previously announced cholera-related programs run by the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross cholera response has already included providing urgently needed medical supplies, donating 5,000 cots to the Haitian Ministry of Health, more than $2.5 million in cash and supplies to support cholera programs managed by the global Red Cross network, in addition to expanding its hygiene promotion program.