Ten months after the devastating earthquake of January 2010, one of the most aggressive cholera outbreaks in recent history spread like wildfire throughout Haiti, infecting more than 800,000 people and killing close to 10,000. Konbit Sante was instrumental in the response to cholera in northern Haiti at that time, through the following activities:
After years of efforts to combat cholera across Haiti, there had not been a documented case in Haiti in more than two years – until recently. Beginning in the south, with the greatest concentration in the densely-populated areas in and around the capital, there are now cases reported in most parts of the country. Since cholera is often spread from contaminated drinking water, current conditions are rife for the outbreak to spread. According to the CDC, if left untreated, 25-50% of severe cholera cases can be fatal. Fortunately, the country is no longer naive to the disease, and many more people know how to protect themselves if given the tools.
Prevention is key. Konbit Sante’s longstanding partner, the Hôpital Fort St. Michel (FSM), is among the many health centers in the North involved in the fight against cholera. FSM is a small public hospital serving a population of roughly 150,000 Haitians in poor and working-class communities in the center of the city. FSM’s nine community health workers, supported by Konbit Sante with funding from USAID, will soon launch a cholera education and prevention campaign in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and SOIL, a like-minded NGO that provides safe, affordable sanitation access to people living in the world’s most vulnerable urban communities.
In anticipation of the continued spread of the disease, and to give households the tools they need to prevent infection, Konbit Sante is also collaborating with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to organize a shipment of nearly 1 million Aquatabs water purification tablets into the north. These will be distributed through the combined network of the NGOs’ community health workers already in place. We are exploring all options for getting these life-saving supplies into the country.
In the next newsletter, we will take a comprehensive look at our partners’ combined needs, the costs of addressing those needs, and the current logistical challenges.
Thank you for being part of the Konbit Sante community that makes all this possible.