Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) joined the Haitian health authorities in the emergency response to treat patients presenting symptoms of cholera, following a resurgence of confirmed cases of cholera in Port-au-Prince as announced by the Ministry of Public Health (MSPP).
In the Haitian capital, MSF opened a 10-bed cholera treatment centre (CTC) in the Brooklyn neighbourhood, a 20-bed CTC in the MSF emergency centre in Turgeau, and a 50-bed CTC in the MSF hospital in Cité Soleil, as well as various oral rehydration solution (ORS) distribution points. The CTC in Cité Soleil is ready to receive new cholera patients, while the other units have already reached their maximum capacity.
Over the past few days, several people identified as potentially affected by the disease have presented to the MSF emergency centre in Turgeau and the MSF Cité Soleil hospital, showing symptoms like severe diarrhoea and vomit. A sample from a patient in Turgeau was found positive to cholera by the national laboratory tests. As of 3 October, MSF had admitted 68 patients to its facilities in Brooklyn, Cité Soleil and Turgeau. Sadly, a three-year-old child died.
This resurgence of cholera is taking place at a time when the Haitian population faces enormous difficulties in accessing health care. Insecurity and violence, coupled with severe shortages of fuel and drinking water, have forced many health facilities to reduce their activities and in some cases to stop them altogether. In addition to this, people who need treatment find it increasingly difficult to move around as public transportation is scarcely available due to a lack of fuel in the country.