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Giving Thanks for Life After Cholera

  • November 23, 2010

This Thanksgiving, Samuel Salsunt is grateful to be alive. Like many farmers in Haiti’s soggy rice fields, Samuel contracted cholera after long hours of exposure to contaminated water. Having learned of the outbreak from public health announcements, Samuel sought care as soon as he felt ill.

Supporting his wife and eight daughters on less than $2 a day, Samuel could not afford transport to a cholera treatment center. He struggled on foot for over an hour to get help. Walking shoulder to shoulder with a friend who was also sick, the two men leaned on each other in order to make it to the center. When he finally arrived, Samuel collapsed at the door. Health workers rushed out, carried him in and immediately got him on IV rehydration.

After her eldest daughter returned from school to take care of her seven little sisters, Mrs. Salsunt sped to her husband’s side. She cared for him, keeping him as clean and comfortable as possible given the sweltering heat and his painful stomach cramps.

After receiving standard cholera treatment of IV and oral rehydration solutions (ORS), he was given a clean bill of health. Doctors gave the Salsunts medication and ORS to take home in case Samuel became ill again, or if any of their family members showed cholera symptoms.

Samuel was treated at a center run by an AmeriCares-supported partner organization in Haiti. The center’s doctors and health workers quickly implemented treatment and infection control. Since their plans were put in place and supplies were delivered, they have not lost any more patients. 

To help fight cholera, a shipment arriving on Thanksgiving contains IV solutions, IV sets and antibiotics – approximately 7,000 treatments.  In addition, a large ORS shipment will arrive in December via sea container to treat more people like Samuel. 

Since the late October outbreak, AmeriCares has delivered over 40 shipments to 28 hospitals and clinics treating cholera patients in Haiti. And more, much more, is on the way to help more people like Samuel.

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