This week, Direct Relief has distributed 27 pallets of medical material aid in Haiti to fill a critical need to treat cholera patients there, especially under threat as Hurricane Tomas looms.
Partners in Health received 16 pallets to serve their patients in Mirebalais (an hour north of Port-au-Prince, where five people have died and 100 more need medical attention) and Saut-d’Eau. Hospital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) has taken four pallets to their hospital in Deschapelles, where they have been seeing 90 patients per day. HAS was the first hospital in Haiti to see cholera patients during the outbreak. Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince is using seven pallets in the St. Marc area to support its temporary cholera treatment centers.
Andrew MacCalla, Direct Relief’s Haiti operations specialist, has been participating in the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) health cluster meetings to inform our response in collaboration with governmental and nongovernmental agencies. He reports that as of yesterday, Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) has counted 442 deaths and 6,742 hospitalized cases from cholera. He also reported on bad sanitation conditions in many parts of the country, combined with heavy rain (15 inches predicted over the next 48 hours) from Hurricane Tomas and ensuing flooding and displacement of people are expected to accelerate the cholera infection rate. MSPP has requested additional clean water distribution as well as a focus on the Cite Soleil and Cite Eternal communities, which are especially vulnerable to weather-related events; additionally, MSPP is promoting the training of medical staff on management of severe dehydration, focusing on the correct distribution and use of ORS, as well as distribution of soap and water purification tabs.
Direct Relief has supplied 30 tons of ORS to assist in this effort, as well as distributing thousands of hygiene kits for families living in temporary camps in Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, and St. Marc.