Medicines and supplies contained in Direct Relief’s pre-positioned hurricane modules in Haiti continue to be in high demand following Hurricane Sandy as partners report increases in patients numbers and disease cases, including cholera.
Since the storm hit nearly one month ago, thousands of new cholera cases have been reported. The International Organization for Migration confirmed nearly 3,600 cases, but the Haitian Ministry of Health (MSPP) has recorded estimates of more than 9,000, a 46 percent increase in the number of cases compared to the three weeks before Sandy.
The growing number of people seeking care for cholera coupled with the hurricane’s destruction of 61 cholera treatment units has weakened much of the country’s medical response infrastructure.
Other health issues are on the rise as well. Dr. Kethia of Visitation Clinic in Haiti said that since the hurricane they’ve seen increases in patients seeking care as well as increases in various diseases and conditions including: diarrhea, gastritis, undernourishment, fever, severe dehydration, intestinal parasitosis, urinary tract infections and influenza.
With additional medicines from Direct Relief’s hurricane modules, partners are able to continue treating patients despite challenges. Direct Relief placed eight hurricane modules in-country for use in emergencies at the beginning of hurricane season, June 1. So far, all but one of the modules have been opened by partners in urgent need of supplies.
Saint Therese hospital in Miragoane, which serves a population of 300,000 in southwest Haiti, reported that as of last week they had 33 cases of cholera, up from six before Sandy. Hard hit by Sandy, the additional supplies are allowing them to maintain a wide range of services including OB/GYN, surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, orthopedics and a cholera treatment center.