Medicines to treat one million people – or nearly one in 10 Haitians – have arrived at Direct Relief’s warehouse in Port-au-Prince as the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus continues to spread throughout the Americas.
Haitian First Lady Sophia Martelly and Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume were on site today to announce the distribution of treatment kits to centers around the country.
The shipment, designated for Haiti’s 904 Public Health and Population sites and Direct Relief’s other partner hospitals, contains more than 6.1 million Defined Daily Doses of pain relievers, oral rehydration packs, antibiotics, IV solution, malaria tablets, and mosquito spray. This distribution comes in the midst of a rainy season, expected to cause a wave of new cases.
Unlike many other mosquito-borne diseases, no vaccine is available to prevent chikungunya. Common symptoms include fever and joint pain, which is often severe and disabling.
The current outbreak, which began in late 2013, marked the arrival of chikungunya in the Americas. It was first detected in Haiti in May and its spread prompted the Haitian government to formally declare a medical emergency. Health officials anticipate that up to 50 percent of the population may be affected by the outbreak. To date, Haiti has recorded roughly 65,000 cases.
Generic pharmaceutical company Apotex generously donated more than $2.2 million of the $2.6 million (wholesale) in medical aid included in this delivery.
“When a fast-spreading virus like chikungunya impacts people who already struggle to access health care, it is important to provide hospitals and clinics with the supplies they need to meet the growing demand for care,” said Jeff Watson, Apotex’s President, US and Canada (Apotex Corp/Aveva/Apotex Inc.). “Apotex is in a position to help, and we are delighted to work with Direct Relief to fill those gaps.”
Other contributors to this response include Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPHA) members Amneal, Hospira, and TEVA Pharmaceuticals, along with 3M, Johnson & Johnson, McNeil, McKesson, and Prestige Brands.
Since Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, Direct Relief has worked with the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population to deliver more than $120 million in medical aid throughout the country.
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