July 20, 2011
Why Have Cholera Cases Skyrocketed in Haiti? — World Health Organization

 Photo Credit:  PAHO/Bernard Meus

 

Why have cholera cases in Haiti skyrocketed this spring, after a slower rate early in the year?

 

In addition to suspecting widespread spring rains and floods, which spread contaminated feces in the surface water, groundwater and waterways, the June newsletter from the World Health Organization (WHO) notes other factors:

 

  • “Water-trucking is now down to 20% of what it was after the earthquake” with 1/3 of those NGOs currently supporting IDP camps in Port-au-Prince planning to discontinue water-trucking and sewage removal as funds evaporate in the next few months.

 

  • “Many NGOs are scaling down operations in rural areas and transferring responsibilities to the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), which does not have sufficient funds to cover health personnel.”   Most of the 354 cholera treatment facilities in Haiti are funded by NGOs, and continue near the capital.

 

  • Rapid transportation of rural patients to clinics for rehydration and treatment is particularly challenging, despite a “system established by the WHO/PAHO, the French Red Cross, the MOPH, the Haitian Red Cross, and the NGO Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA).”  The system consists of only 11 vehicles for the country.

 

  • Most importantly, only 35% of the money requested by the Health Cluster for the UN‘s “Consolidated Appeal (which includes cholera-related activities)” has been received from international donors.  Less than half of the World Health Organization‘s Haiti budget has been funded.

 

In comparison to the 344,000 total cholera cases in Haiti reported as of June 12, 2011, since last October’s outbreak, the Dominican Republic has sustained “1,727 confirmed cases (191 in 2010 and 1536 in 2011) and 46 related deaths since the outbreak.”   The DR’s Ministry of Public Health “continues to work on improving water quality and sanitation services and educating the public on prevention.”

 

For the full article from the June Newsletter of the World Health Organization see:  http://www.who.int/hac/crises/hti/highlights/june2011/en/.