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Haiti - Cholera : ICRC activities in prisons
27/04/2011 14:48:35

Haiti - Cholera : ICRC activities in prisons
The cholera epidemic that spread throughout the country since October 2010 is now, according to official data, in the process of reduction. A new outbreak of the disease is however to be feared and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continues to participate in the prevention and fight against cholera, among others in the places of detention in Haiti.

To ensure that people behind bars in Haiti are well treated, the ICRC is working in 18 of the country's places of detention holding some 5,800 detainees. "Our current priority is to support the detaining authorities in their efforts to maintain and carefully monitor the measures taken to contain cholera in all these places of detention," said Sandra Dessimoz, deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Port-au-Prince.

From January to March 2011, the ICRC has treated 275 inmates suffering from cholera, six deaths were reported. 

Since the epidemic started in October, over 4,900 people held in the prisons and police stations affected have been given one dose each of doxycycline, an antibiotic, as a preventive measure. In all the places of detention, the ICRC introduced hygiene measures such as the daily cleaning and disinfection of cells and latrines. Prison dispensaries are regularly supplied with medicines, oral rehydration salts and intravenous solutions.

At the civilian prison in Port-au-Prince, a cholera treatment centre and four monitoring and treatment areas were set up and equipped by the ICRC in cooperation with prison medical staff. The ICRC is in the process of installing bunk beds in various wings of the prison to improve detainee sleeping conditions. Improvements are also currently being made to another wing of approximately 800 square metres.

In the two provincial prisons most affected by cholera, in Cap-Haïtien and Les Cayes, the ICRC is monitoring the medical situation on a daily basis. Additional medical personnel have been on hand since December to respond to the epidemic.

The police stations in Petit-Goâve and Miragoâne, in the south of the country, were upgraded in such a way as to enable detainees to have regular access to the open air. Earthquake-caused damage was also repaired. The renovation and enlargement of the Aquin police station, currently under way, are being carried out with similar aims.

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