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Haiti - FLASH : Already 7 dead from cholera and dozens of suspected cases
04/10/2022 12:06:58

Haiti - FLASH : Already 7 dead from cholera and dozens of suspected cases
Sunday, October 2nd, 2022 the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reports in its latest bulletin that "more than 20 suspected cases of cholera (WHO), including at least 7 fatalities and at least two confirmed cases have been registered in the capital among the samples tested by the Haitian health authorities" adding "clusters of suspected cases and deaths are being investigated in various communes of the West department..."

The areas affected are Cité Soleil and Carrefour Feuille "which are entirely controlled by gangs and where clashes have been taking place since last August which have displaced thousands of people. This situation greatly complicates the humanitarian response [...] The situation is changing rapidly and previous cases may not have been detected" estimating that the number of deaths could be "much higher than the figures announced" declared Christian Lindmeier Spokesperson for WHO.

During the epidemiological week, health facilities located in certain sectors of the communes of Port-au-Prince and Cité Soleil reported an increase in cases of severe acute diarrhea among hospitalized patients, including children and adults.

Several of these victims suffering from diarrheal disease died in their neighborhoods and were unable to go to the hospital", indicated the UN humanitarian agencies, noting the problems of fuel, insecurity, access to ambulances after the installation of various roadblocks…

"After years of decline, we are seeing a worrying upsurge in cholera outbreaks around the world over the past year," said Philippe Barboza, World Health Organization (WHO) Team Leader for the cholera and epidemic diarrheal diseases, pointing out that the cholera mortality rate recorded in 2021 is almost three times higher than in the previous five years.

Following the official declaration of the Ministry of Health confirming new cases of cholera in Haiti, PAHO/WHO in coordination with Médecins-Sans Frontières France already on site in Cité Soleil, epicenter of this resurgence of cases, had as first response actions the delivery of a batch of inputs, materials and equipment (oral rehydration serum, infusion solution, tents, cholera beds, buckets, sprayers, and HTH, among others) making more than 2 metric tons for the rapid assembly of a Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) that can accommodate 50 patients.

This stock will not only make it possible to take care of 50 hospitalized cases but also to provide the capacity to undertake disinfection actions within households themselves in order to contain the spread of the disease.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres said he was "deeply concerned" about the health and safety of people in Haiti following the confirmation of positive cases of cholera and several suspected cases in the capital, Port- to the Prince.

"The UN is ready to deploy emergency response teams to support affected communities as soon as safe access is ensured and fuel supplies are unblocked," said Stéphane Dujarric , spokesperson for the Secretary-General, adding that Gueterres also called for "immediate and unhindered access to the ground to facilitate the delivery of fuel for humanitarian purposes."

Moreover, the task may be made even more difficult by the gangs. Guito Édouard, the Director General of the National Directorate for Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA), informs and regrets that "[...] 60 tonnes of chlorinated products which should be delivered to the great South have been intercepted by unidentified armed individuals. I ask you once again to allow DINEPA to do its job at this difficult time without any political considerations."

In the Dominican Republic, Daniel Rivera, the Minister of Public Health issued an epidemiological surveillance alert and activated the emergency plan, with emphasis on the border, due to the presence of cholera in Haiti. Minister Rivera will travel today to the border to ensure the establishment of a preventive cordon against cholera.

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