HAITI VISIT PART 3: CHOLERA TREATMENT
On January 13, Mike Shinoda and Music for Relief visited two cholera treatment facilities in Port-au-Prince with International Medical Corps. Our goal was to get a better understanding of cholera in Haiti, how water emergencies like Hurricane Sandy accelerate the spread of the infection, and its treatment.
Mike and Music for Relief spent the day with International Medical Corps’ country representative in Haiti David Holdridge and Dr. Atilio Rivera-Vasquez, IMC’s Heath Technical Advisor and Emergency Coordinator. MFR is supporting IMC’s Hurricane Sandy response in the South Department of Haiti which was hardest hit by the storm. IMC’s activities include cholera treatment, cholera prevention education, and sanitation and rehydration kits. These services are provided by mobile medical units that travel to affected villages and communities.
Photo courtesy of MSF
We visited two cholera treatment centers to see first-hand how the infection is treated and how it is impacting people in Haiti. The first stop was a small Ministry of Health clinic serving cholera patients since the epidemic began in 2011, cholera is now considered endemic in Haiti. Our second visit was to a larger cholera treatment center run by Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF).
Cholera is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated water and poor sanitation. Symptoms include dehydration which can be treated with Oral Rehydration Solution or Intravenous fluids. Without rehydration, approximately half the people with cholera die. With treatment, the number of fatalities drops to less than 1 percent.
This was a difficult visit because of the very raw conditions and the knowledge that cholera is preventable through better sanitation. It was so valuable to learn more about the impact of cholera in Haiti.
We are also encouraged that our partner International Medical Corps is integrating prevention via sanitation and education in its approach in the South.