There isn't much being written about cholera in Haiti right now (at least when compared to last fall when the outbreak started), but the articles that are being written are reporting that cholera cases are rapidly rising all over Haiti and the Dominican Republic. My friends at Real Hope for Haiti (RHFH) in Cazale are seeing a huge surge in patients. Their cholera treatment center has 25 beds. This morning they had 70 patients. Despite this, they have not had to turn anyone away and they want to keep it that way. They are working extremely hard and are "degage-ing" (kreyol word for "making it work").
Please read updates from Real Hope for Haiti here (from May 30th) and here (from May 31st) and here (from June 1st).
Here are their Facebook/Twitter updates from the past 24 hours:
Saturday (5/28): "
Sunday (5/29): Monday (5/30): "
Check out this graph showing the recent dramatic increase in cases:
I have visited RHFH's cholera treatment center many times. I have been helping to supply them with medications and supplies since the outbreak started. I have said this many times before but it needs to be said again--they are the real deal. They treat everyone who comes to their treatment center. They do not charge anyone to be treated. In the midst of this epidemic, RHFH has hired many people and is providing much-needed jobs in the community. Their staff is compassionate and they are very, very skilled at treating cholera. They keep their treatment center clean. Patients are given gowns and hygiene products. Every patient is educated on how to prevent the transmission of cholera and is provided with supplies (such as bleach powder and oral rehydration salts) when they are discharged.
The reason they are seeing so many more cases is likely 3-fold:
1. It is the rainy season in Haiti. More rain = more contamination of rivers and other water sources, which means more cholera.
2. "Word of mouth" (I think the word in Kreyol is teledjol) is huge in Haiti. The word on the street is that if you make it to Real Hope for Haiti's cholera treatment center, you will survive. They are also known as being a place where patients are treated well.
3. Other cholera treatment centers in the area have either closed, or are now charging upwards of $250 Haitian (about $30 U.S.) to be treated. That is prohibitively expensive for the average Haitian person.
Real Hope for Haiti has treated almost 1700 patients since the outbreak started. They have had 4 deaths, which is a 0.2% mortality rate. Every death is tragic. At the same time, that low of a mortality rate is almost unheard of in a cholera epidemic. And each of the 4 who died had other significant co-morbidities that made them more susceptible to dying from cholera.
Like I said--they are the REAL DEAL. I want us to do everything we can to support them. I am working to connect them to people and organizations in Haiti that can donate much-needed supplies and medications directly to them.
If you are in Haiti and have access to the following supplies, please contact me (jenniferhalverson09 AT gmail DOT com) or contact RHFH directly (lori AT realhopeforhaiti DOT org):
1. IV catheters (22 gauge and 24 gauge)
2. Microdrip IV tubing (60 drips per mL)
3. Diapers in all sizes (babies to adult)
6. Large trash bags
If you are not in Haiti, I am again collecting donations to purchase medications and supplies for RHFH. I have networked with other organizations to get the meds/supplies to Haiti ASAP. There are teams (working with various other organizations) leaving from Minnesota almost every week. The first shipment of meds should go out this coming Monday. I will be buying Azithromycin suspension, which is used to treat children under 8 years of age with cholera. Only one dose is required for treatment. Each bottle costs a little over $10, and each bottle can treat anywhere from 3-12 children, depending on their weight. Funds may also be used to purchase medical supplies or other cholera medications as needed.
I am again working with Haiti Mission Project to collect donations. Please go HERE and click on the 2nd donate button. As always, 100% of all donations are used to purchase medications and medical supplies, and all donations are tax-deductible. Tax donation receipts are provided at the end of the year.
Thanks in advance for your help!