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Haiti - Cholera Epidemic : Heavy toll of end of year
01/01/2011 12:44:46

Haiti - Cholera Epidemic : Heavy toll of end of year
Last cholera assessment: Since the beginning of the epidemic of cholera in the country (October 19, 2010), 148.787 people were infected and treated, 83.166 people were hospitalized and 3.333 people died. According to the latest report from the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), dated of December 26, 2010.

It is unfortunate that the public is not entitled to the truth, the assessments of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) are not only underestimated, but contain erroneous information. Thus in Port-au-Prince metropolitan area (Carrefour, Cité Soleil, Delmas, Kenscoff, Petion Ville, Tabarre and Croix des Bouquets) are updated on an irregular basis (eg. from 22 to 26 no death was recorded in health centers) and since November 9, 2010, the dead (9) in the community, are never recorded (which allows the Government to announce a death rate of 1.1% (the best in the country).

The figures of the official assessments contain many errors. Example, in Port-au-Prince, the number of deaths in the care centers for the December 20, 2010, according to the MSPP, is of 257, and of 280 on December 21 and the MSPP only indicates an increase of 2 deaths in 24 hours ! The lack of data for the the most populous Department of the country, opens the door to all the speculation... The situation is so dramatic to avoid reveal the truth to the public ? What is surprising is that OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) of the United Nations does not reports these errors and omissions, contributing to the dissemination of false information...

OCHA precise not to be able to predict accurately the evolution of the epidemic. The mortality rate will depend on the response. Without access to treatment (either in the community or in a care facility), the mortality rate can vary from 1% to levels as high that 25-50% for severe cases.

In date of December 18, recalls a report of OCHA, the ten departments of Haiti have reported cases and deaths due to cholera.

As of 18 December, all ten departments of Haiti have reported cases and deaths due to cholera. During the previous three epidemiological weeks, the highest cumulative incidence was observed in the departments of Artibonite followed by Nord Ouest, Nord and Centre, we can read in a OCHA report. In the North department, cholera epidemic has entered a "second phase": New foci of patients in remote areas are seen, which makes the response more difficult in terms of logistics, mobilization of human resources and introduction of oral rehydration points.

In the Central Department / Haut-Plateau (Cerca La source, Thomassique, Boc Banic et Los Cacaos) have reported a high number of cases.

Management of dead bodies continues to present challenges to health authorities and agencies involved in cholera response. The responsibility for managing cadavers lies with the Ministry of Health and the Mayors’ offices. Guidance has been prepared on proper disposal of dead bodies, and training for those who are handling the corpses is ongoing. There are protocols of disinfection of the areas from where the dead bodies are picked up (CTCs, homes and public places such as streets, sidewalks, etc), for disinfection of bodies, proper transportation and ensuring proper disposal in previously prepared areas.

PAHO/WHO and partners are working with the government on a training program for community leaders (civic leaders, religious leaders, etc) that explains how to manage cholera, including how to manage dead bodies. The training will be delivered by the government. Only one mass grave has been prepared for dead bodies in metropolitan Port-au- Prince, This issue remains a serious problem in other areas of the country affected by cholera.

Note that these figures reflect the situation, there are 5 days, and are grossly underestimated by the government, according to health experts from the UN, who believe that these figures could be double those released.

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