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AmeriCares Team Quickly Responds to Alarming Spread of Cholera in Haiti

  • November 15, 2010

Deadly cholera is on the move in Haiti, killing more than 1,000 and threatening the many thousands of vulnerable earthquake survivors crowded in makeshift camps in and around the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince. 

AmeriCares Haiti team is working around the clock, immediately responding to a significant upsurge in requests from hospitals and clinics in affected areas for new stocks of rehydration solutions, antibiotics and other essential cholera relief supplies.  

AmeriCares partners are reporting an alarming increase in patients, filling hospitals way beyond capacity with reportedly more than 15,000 confirmed cases across six regions. “Your shipment arrived just in time,” said one health care provider. “We are seeing more patients than ever before, and we had nearly run out of supplies.  Please, keep them coming.”

Special cholera treatment centers are being set up to handle the fast growing number of people desperately seeking treatment.   

 “AmeriCares is taking a major role in supporting the Ministry of Health’s fight against the disease by keeping the treatment centers well stocked with critical medicines and medical supplies, “said Christoph Gorder, AmeriCares SVP of Global Programs. “With our latest emergency airlift of 90,000 pounds of cholera medicines in place, we are able to dispatch supplies rapidly to meet the escalating need of a population with little natural immunity to the disease.” 

To help stop the spread of the disease through water and food contaminated by human waste, an AmeriCares delivery of 2 million sachets of water purification treatment is arriving in Port-au-Prince on Monday, November 15.  The treatment will purify 5.5 million gallons of water, providing 20,000 families with safe drinking water for weeks. Not only are cholera and other deadly bacteria in the water killed by the solution, but it also removes other impurities. 

More cholera relief supplies are already in the AmeriCares pipeline including a new emergency air shipment of medicines from Stamford scheduled for immediate delivery and a full sea container of cholera relief supplies that will head out this week and reach Haiti in about four days.  In addition, 250,000 units of oral rehydration salts have been ordered to restock the Haiti warehouse. 

When news of the outbreak first emerged, AmeriCares began delivering critical medical aid to combat cholera to healthcare providers on the front lines within 24 hours of the reported outbreak. As part of AmeriCares emergency preparedness plans in Haiti, essential medical supplies to combat cholera and other waterborne illnesses were already stocked in Port-au-Prince and a network of partners was in place and connected to ensure that the right life-saving supplies could reach those in need in time. 

AmeriCares has already delivered over $35 million in aid to Haiti to help survivors of the devastating January 2010 earthquake. AmeriCares has been working in Haiti since 1984, delivering medicines and supplies to health care providers throughout the country. Those deep roots have enabled our emergency response team to navigate the challenging environment and overcome distribution issues in order to increase access to medicines for the Haitian people in both rural and urban areas.

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