Cholera: Controlling a Killer

More than 325,000 cholera treatments delivered, 140,000 people trained to help Haiti fight this deadly disease.

Photo by Matthew McDermott
Photo by Matthew McDermott

Cholera strikes quickly, spreads fast and can kill within hours. The infection is a risk after any disaster—especially earthquakes—due to poor sanitation and lack of clean water. Since the 2010 outbreak in Haiti, AmeriCares remains at the forefront of the fight against this deadly diarrheal disease.

On October 21, 2010, the first cases in what rapidly became a widespread and deadly outbreak of cholera were confirmed in Haiti. AmeriCares responded within 24 hours, filling vans and trucks with IV fluids, IV sets, oral rehydration salts, antibiotics, gloves, disinfectant and buckets—things that make a difference between life and death during a cholera epidemic.

Health centers throughout Haiti were quickly overwhelmed. “The halls of our clinic filled with patients,” explained Mike Martin, field administrator for the International Faith Missions treatment center in the rural village of Fond Parisien. “People arrived so sick they were unconscious.”

Controlling a Killer

Since 2010 we have:
  • Delivered more than 325,000 cholera treatments
  • Supported the training of more than 140,000 people in cholera prevention

Because AmeriCares had anticipated cholera, we could respond to many requests for aid. “At least 85 percent of the supplies we used since we opened in November, 2010 have been from AmeriCares, said Martin. To date, 99 percent of the 6,500 patients at the treatment center survived. “Without treatment, at least half would have died,” he added.

In addition to delivering more than 325,000 treatments and supplies since 2010, AmeriCares continues to work with the Haitian Ministry of Public Health to build defenses against the disease.  We have established rehydration posts, trained 140,000 people in cholera prevention, and sent medical supplies to treatment center, clinics, and hospitals.  In advance of rainy seasons, we are working with the ministry to pre-position cholera treatment and prevention supplies in every corner of the country.

With all the progress that has been made in prevention and treatment, cholera remains a serious threat in Haiti. Every rainstorm has potential to spread disease.  Cholera doesn’t wait; the health care system must be ready. And, with AmeriCares help, Haiti is fighting back.

  • Learn more about AmeriCares work in cholera prevention and treatment in Haiti here. 
  • Learn more about AmeriCares Global Cholera Preparedness Initiative here.
  • AmeriCares cholera initiative is featured in the New York Times' Saving Lives in a Time of Cholera.  Read the article External Link