Cholera Is Back In Haiti After Three Year Absence.

Photo: WHO. Adminstration of an oral vaccine for cholera.
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Haiti has been plunged into a socio-economic, political and humanitarian crisis for several years, which has reached critical levels since mid-September 2022 due to the escalation of armed violence and control of territory by gangs.

Widespread insecurity and political instability have significantly affected the country’s access to essential goods and infrastructure services such as food, clean drinking water, sanitation and healthcare, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Meanwhile, in October 2022, a cholera epidemic reappeared after three years without a case and spread rapidly throughout the country.

Effective treatment of people who have cholera requires antibiotics, rehydration therapy (usually delivered by feeding sterile fluids through a needle into the bloodstream), and, in the case of children, zinc tablets have also been found to greatly reduce diarrhea.

Although the cholera outbreak appears to be under control  right now, conditions remain conducive to the spread of the disease, as well as other diseases such as dengue, tuberculosis, measles and polio, particularly in sites where people displaced within the country.

Since February 29, 2024, the humanitarian situation in Haiti has rapidly worsened due to increased violence related to gang activities in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The state of emergency declared for the West department, including Port-au-Prince, has once again been extended until April 7, 2024.

The Haitian population faces an unprecedented lack of access to medical services, particularly in the capital, where most major hospitals have closed due to the inability to ensure the safety of staff and patients and a shortage of resources necessary for their operation.

In the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince (PaP), less than half of health facilities are operating at their normal capacity, putting enormous pressure on local health systems. Difficulties in accessing services negatively impact patients with chronic illnesses and pregnant women, leading to an increase in medical and obstetric emergencies.

There are oral choleral vaccines available and person from outside Haiti would be well advised, says the CDC, to consider taking a cholera vaccine before travelling to Haiti.

Source: PAHO.

 

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