With the heavy rains of October, the health actors have observed a resurgence of cholera cases in several communes, notably in the departments of Artibonite, West, South East, South and North. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), in its situation report from October 18 to 29, affirms that in these departments more than 400 alerts were recorded.
The document indicates that about fifteen communes are on red alert. The situation is more critical in Cite Soleil (91 cases), Marigot (51 cases), St. Mark (36 cases) and Jacmel (33 cases) communes.
Humanitarian actors estimate that the untreated water consumption and poor hygiene practices are the causes of transmission of 73% of the cases investigated.
The UNICEF-PAHO technical team recalled the partners to improve surveillance because the end of the year is the period where the number of cholera cases tends to increase both in the departments and in the capital. They encouraged a better coordination, more flexibility of intervention and information sharing between actors doing interventions in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and Health sectors. All the emergency actors are mobilized to support local authorities on responding to alerts
Faced with this situation, the UN agencies, through the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), UNICEF, and the health departments, have intensified activities of rapid response to alerts. The distribution of chlorinated product and oral serum, community awareness, decontamination of houses, dormitories and sanitary facilities, were held in affected communities.
Particularly in the West department, mobile teams of rapid response (EMIRA), supported by MDM-Canada, French Red Cross and volunteers from the Haitian Red Cross have decontaminated 23 dormitories and 8 toilet blocks (composed of 10 toilets each). They also installed 20 washing stations at the National Police Academy and organized a training session on hygienic practices for the benefit of 1,500 new recruited police, after 40 of them where contaminated with cholera last October.
In the department of Artibonite, the International Organization for Migration and PAHO / WHO supplied the diarrhea treatment center with medicines and human resources.
In the Southeast, the mobile teams (EMIRA) of the Ministry of Public Health (MSSP) assured the community response in the most affected areas, especially in Jacmel, Cayes-Jacmel, Marigot and Anse-a-Pitres communes. Other initiatives including the investigation of water sources, the active search of cholera patients, the decontamination of houses, the protection of water sources and awareness have been implemented. Moreover, an extra number of beds were made available in health centers.
Resource mobilization remains a major challenge in the fight against the epidemic
The Haitian government, the United Nations Agencies and their partners have made the fight against cholera a priority in the process of reducing the extreme vulnerability of the country. Therefore, the continued mobilization of donors remains essential to support the efforts of the Government and humanitarian partners to maintain a rapid response capacity at Community level.
It is possible that the rains will continue during part of November, being followed by the dry season, a period where the opportunities to cut the transmission of the disease are optimal. In this sense, the actors are still seeking financing for projects of approximately $8 million to continue the rapid response to alerts, to improve water quality and to execute hygiene promotion activities.