Four years after cholera was introduced to Haiti by UN peacekeepers, the response to the epidemic remains inadequate. Water and sanitation infrastructure have barely been improved and the Haitian health system has a shortage of medicines to treat cholera. Even cholera treatment centers lack beds, making it difficult for organizations like Doctors without Borders to respond. Improvements need to be made soon to prevent more people from dying.
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Haiti: Too Few Beds to Treat Cholera Patients
Doctors Without Borders
November 24, 2014
More than 2,000 people with symptoms of cholera have required emergency hospitalization since mid-October in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Even though the majority of the Haitian population remains exposed to cholera due to a lack of access to clean drinking water and latrines, capacity to treat those affected by the disease is still inadequate. In response, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has rapidly reinforced its cholera response, making close to 320 beds available.
Four years on from cholera’s appearance in the country, the Haitian health system is still facing shortages of funding, human resources, and drugs. This demonstrates the authorities’ lack of preparation for outbreaks that today are known and foreseeable. “Patients come to us in critical condition as there is no system in place to provide urgent care, despite the existence of a National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera,” laments Oliver Schulz, head of mission for MSF in Haiti.
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