MSH Mobilizes Rapid Response to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

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On Saturday, October 23, a four-member group from the Santé pour le Développement et la Stabilité (SDSH) project, led by MSH's Dr. Patrick Dimanche, conducted an initial on-the-ground assessment and provided support for five local non-govermental organization partners—Service and Development Agency (SADA) in Mattheux/West Department, Saint-Paul Health Center in Montrouis/West Department, Pierre Payen Health Center in Pierre Payen/Lower Artibonite Department, Hospital Albert Schweitzer/Lower Artibonite Department, and Claire Heureuse Community Hospital/Upper Artibonite Department—that have cared for over a third of the 2,364 cholera cases reported thus far in Haiti. Ninety-eight of the reported 208 deaths have occurred in four of these five health facilities.

The three US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded projects managed by MSH in Haiti—SDSH, Leadership, Management, and Sustainability (LMS/Haiti), and the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) project—are working together to deliver emergency commodities including bed sheets, towels, adult diapers, disposable gloves, oral rehydration salts, IV solution, water treatment tablets, and soap.

MSH and its partner, Pure Water for the World (PWW), are working with the Artibonite Departmental Directorate to identify locations to place lightweight bio-sand water filters to help provide at-risk communities better access to safe water. The water filtration system has been successfully implemented by PWW and the SDSH project for three years.

USAID has provided an additional 70,000 packets of oral rehydration salts. Pamphlets are also being provided to help educate the affected communities.

"SCMS is supporting the cholera outbreak at the second level. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Program on Essential Medicine and Supplies (PROMESS) are the first responders and were the first organizations to provide supplies," said Judith D'Amico, SCMS Haiti Country Director. "SCMS is bringing in 60,000 units of lactated solution (IV Solution used specifically for cholera) which will be in country by October 30, 2010. SCMS will deliver to all the major health sites in the country, as a secondary supply."