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Haiti Sees Rise in Cholera Cases; 200,000 Could Contract Disease in 2012

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - April 4, 2012

Above: Patients with cholera await treatment in Haiti following the earthquake (UN Photo/Sophia Paris)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti has seen an increase in cholera cases in three departments, confirming predictions of higher incidence of the disease with the arrival of the rainy season, according to the monthly Haiti Humanitarian Bulletin published by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

There was an increase in cholera cases reported by the Health Cluster in the Artibonite, Nord-Ouest and Ouest departments, according to the report. In the beginning of March, the Ministry of Public Health reported 77 daily new cases in Haiti. According to PAHO estimates, some 200,000 additional people could contract cholera in Haiti in 2012.

Several reports have found that United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal brought cholera into the country. A lawsuit against the UN has also been filed on the same grounds.

The alerts, which were received at the end of March, coincided with the early arrival of abundant and regular rains, which should continue until June.

The Pan American Health Organization and IOM have deployed medical teams and additional medical supplies in support of Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population.

Since last June, when the country saw peaks of more than 1,000 cholera cases on some days, cholera had been on the decline in all of Haiti’s 10 departments.

Haiti’s national strategy to fight the disease include access to safe water and sanitation in health care facilities, improving capacity building in the detection and reporting of outbreaks, and strengthening response to alerts.

The UNOCHA has recommended the creation of a national coordination structure in response to cholera in Haiti. Members of the new structure, which was recommended following a meeting March 28, would include the Department of Public Health and Population, the National Directorate for Drinking Water and Sanitation, the Ministry of Finance and humanitarian actors.

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