Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Haiti launches extensive cholera campaign

Published:Wednesday | November 9, 2016 | 3:46 PM
In this October 12 file photo a girl walks through debris where homes once stood after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti.

Haiti Wednesday launched a vaccination campaign against cholera in the areas of  the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country hard hit by Hurricane Matthew last month resulting in the loss of lives of hundreds of people.

“Today in Haiti marks the first day of a vaccination campaign against cholera in areas ravaged by Hurricane Matthew,” Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General told reporters, noting that the campaign is supported by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others.

“The target population is estimated at 820,000 people over one year of age. Activities will focus on municipalities most vulnerable to cholera outbreaks in the two southern departments of Grand’Anse and Sud, where there have been significant destruction of water and other supply systems,” Dujarric said.

Haiti’s Ministry of Health (MSPP) had requested the WHO and other members of the Global Task Force for Cholera Control to undertake the campaign as the authorities seek to reduce the number of cholera cases and reduce the deaths in the departments of the Sud and Grand’Anse.

In the release, PAHO-WHO Representative Dr Jean-Luc Poncelet stressed the importance of the leadership of MSPP in this vaccination campaign.

He said some municipalities in the southwest peninsula have reported outbreaks of cholera since the hurricane hit on October 4, “so it is important to work together and with partners to build local capacity for clinical management of cases in the cholera treatment centres”.

Since the hurricane, the authorities have said more than 3,500 people have been affected by the disease.

Poncelet noted that PAHO-WHO will support the Ministry of Health in activities including development of tools and technical support as well as reception, storage and transport of the vaccines and supplies in departments, municipalities and institutions.

PAHO/WHO will also support training of vaccination staff supervisors and operators, and the coordination, collection and analysis of information, monitoring and evaluation, he added.

“The vaccine is an additional intervention which will help us to save lives, but does not replace the efforts that the Government supports in the field of water and sanitation,” said Dr Daphne Benoit, Haiti’s Minister of Public Health.

On Wednesday, the UN said that its multimillion-dollar appeal for Haiti following the hurricane was still only 36 per cent funded.