Situation Report #4

25 October 2010

This report was issued by OCHA Haiti

Highlights/Key Priorities
  • The Ministry of Health reports the total of 259 deaths and 3,342 confirmed cases.
  • Artibonite: at the epicentre of the outbreak more than 20 organisations including DINEPA, the Red Cross Movement, UNICEF, Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante, ACTED, IOM, MSF, Oxfam and WFP continue to reach affected areas with WASH, health, and communication assistance.
  • In North and West departments preparations are being made for cholera treatment centers with support from MINUSTAH, Oxfam and MSF.
  • Humanitarian partners continue to support the public information campaign on cholera prevention and hygiene, in particular in the West department, particularly in Port-au-Prince.
Situation Overview

The response continues to focus on stopping the spread of the outbreak by ensuring clean water and food, promoting good personal hygiene practices including hand washing and waste management. The Haitian Ministry of Health (MSPP) report 6 deaths and 327 new cases. The total number of dead now numbers 259 while there are 3,342 cases confirmed. Although the origin of the outbreak is in the departments of Artibonite and Centre, suspected cases of cholera have been reported in the North and West departments. According to UNICEF, MSPP reports show that there is no significant difference in attack case-fatality rates by gender. The Ministry has reported no fatalities among children under one year. All these suspected cases have origins in either Artibonite or Central departments, where the supposed source where cholera first emerged is the Artibonite River. Assessments show the majority of cases involve people from rural areas where rice growing is prevalent.

Health authorities report that many cases in Artibonite involve daily workers involved in seasonal labour. Dominican authorities have mobilised a contingency plan in the border area and have reports of partiallyclosed borders at Ounaminte, Balladere, Malpasse and Anse-à-Pitre to anyone not holding a passport. The government of Haiti, the UN and humanitarian partners continue their efforts to reach affected populations in Artibonite where the overall population is estimated at 435,540. Medical assistance, supplies and equipment for water purification and cholera transmission prevention are being distributed. The WASH cluster reports that they have reached 40 per cent of the people in the 17 most affected communal sections with such distributions. Relief efforts continue in St Marc, where the logistics cluster made available a Mobile Storage Unit for the storage of medical equipment in St Marc for the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante received from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) 70 beds, 140 wash basins, 7,200 litres of bottled water and a 10,000 litre capacity water bladder. In Gonaives IOM distributed to 206 hygiene kits and is distributing 360 jerry cans from prepositioned stock. Humanitarian Coordinator Nigel Fisher today visited St Marc at the epicentre of the outbreak where he highlighted the need to prepare for a wider outbreak of cholera. “This is an extremely serious situation and based on experience with epidemics elsewhere it would be irresponsible to plan for anything but a considerably wider outbreak,” he said. Today the MSPP along with WHO/PAHO agreed to classify three steps to treat cholera, each stage of treatment represents a more serious case of the illness: stage one is to administer oral rehydration salts, stage two is IV administered rehydration treatment, stage three is to send patients to a Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC). The Government reports its plan to establish distribution centres for oral rehydration salts.

The mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors throughout Port-au-Prince with up to 30,000 volunteers to ensure distributions with a plan of one distribution centre for every 2,500 households. The second stage of intervention will be the establishment of intermediary/transitory centres for intake of patients and where IV and oral rehydration will be available for those with suspected cases. These centres will require additional health personnel and are planned to be setup in existing health facilities or in spaces identified by the local authorities. The final step is the establishment of CTCs for more acute cases and patients requiring hospitalization.

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