Just when you think the Ebola virus crisis is abating, another disease rears its ugly head. Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is reporting an increase in cholera cases in Haiti in the last few weeks.
Oliver Schulz, head of the group’s Haiti mission, said since mid-October more than 2,000 people, who are symptomatic are in need of emergency hospitalization in Port-au-Prince. He said compared to the same period in 2013, the number of cases treated by his group have almost doubled. The cholera epidemic is “particularly severe during the rainy season” in Haiti. MSF says, “in recent years, the population has slowly lost their immunity to the disease.”
In a statement posted on its website, MSF says “the Haitian health system is still facing shortages of funding, human resources and drugs,” four years on from the last outbreak in 2010, which “demonstrates the authorities’ lack of preparation for outbreaks that today are known and foreseeable.”
Schulz said, “Patients come to us in critical condition as there is no system in place to provide urgent care, despite the existence of a National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera.”
MSF believes a “lack of sanitary infrastructure and of measures to clean water risk aggravates the epidemic.” Schulz says, “eradicating cholera requires radical action to prevent and treat the disease.”
Cholera has killed nearly 8,600 people in Haiti since the outbreak started.