Management Sciences for Health to Conduct Nationwide Training Program in Haiti for Cholera Treatment and Prevention

(Port- au- Prince, Haiti) Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is preparing to conduct a nationwide training program in Haiti for cholera prevention and treatment. The training will be conducted in 147 facilities for 45 doctors, 70 nurses, and over 4,500 community-level first responders across all 10 of Haiti’s departments. Additionally, MSH will reactivate mobile health kiosks originally created throughout the Port-au-Prince camps after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. The kiosks will provide information about hygiene, sanitation, and cholera prevention and treatment.

With deaths due to cholera exceeding 1,100 and the number of cases being seen in Port-au-Prince growing daily, the training cannot come soon enough. Because cholera hadn’t been detected in Haiti in decades, medical professionals in Haiti lacked adequate knowledge about how to treat the disease and prevent further spread.

“In the beginning, providers were treating people the wrong way…some returned in worse shape. The cases were treated with panic and excessive reaction. Facility administrators did not know how to react properly and systems quickly became overwhelmed. Clinical training is critical, as is enabling community health workers to educate, calm people’s anxieties, and reinforce life-saving prevention measures,” said Dr. Serge Conille, Technical Lead for the MSH/Santé pour le Développement et la Stabilité d’Haïti (SDSH) Cholera Task Force.

After the earthquake, the health kiosks provided information and primary care services to more than 40,000 people both in and around the camps. This broad reach will be important in the response to the cholera outbreak as well, since prevention measures such as hand washing, water purification through chlorination, and proper use of latrines must be adopted on a broad scale to stem the spread of the disease.  “Training the population on prevention and care is of major importance. Yesterday we had a radio interview [about cholera prevention and care] scheduled for less than 30 minutes and it lasted two hours. Listeners were calling non-stop with questions,” said Jean-Castel Joseph, Claire Heureuse Community Hospital Administrator.

With over 15 years of active experience in Haiti, a nearly 200-person staff, and close ties to Haitian organizations, MSH will be able to roll out the training quickly and effectively. “The SDSH project is dedicated to working closely with the Haitian Ministry of Health to strengthen access to quality primary health care throughout Haiti. Effective response to health crises such as the earthquake and cholera is an essential component to building a strong health system capable of meeting the daily needs of all Haitians,” said Agma Prins, SDSH Chief of Party.

Management Sciences for Health is a nonprofit international health organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is currently implementing three USAID-funded projects in Haiti—Santé pour le Développement et la Stabilité d’Haiti (SDSH), Leadership, Management, and Sustainability (LMS), and the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) project. Since 1971, MSH has worked in over 140 countries to build stronger health systems and bring quality health care to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. Today, MSH works in over 60 countries in HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment, reproductive health and family planning, tuberculosis, maternal, newborn, and child health, and chronic diseases.  

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