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10 January 2011
AS the cholera death toll in Haiti approaches 3,500 people, The Salvation Army continues to provide treatment to those who have been infected and prevention support to the wider community.
Antibiotics, soap, bleach and oral rehydration supplies are essential in the fight against cholera. Soap is provided weekly to more than 2,000 College Verena students and staff as well as to 13,000 people living in the nearby Place de la Paix Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.
The Port-au-Prince Salvation Army clinic has received supplies of soap, bleach, antibiotics and oral rehydration packets. Operating in a temporary facility with limited space, the clinic has not been able to set up a treatment centre but there is a treatment centre operated by the Organization of International Ministry (OIM) in the IDP camp. The Salvation Army works closely with the camp committee to provide adequate supplies for the centre.
Bethel Clinic, the Salvation Army's hospital in Fond des Negres, operates a cholera treatment centre containing 17 beds. That centre was quickly filled and an additional site is being organised with the assistance of the Haitian government. Captain Felix Ezeh, the clinic administrator, reports eight cholera-related deaths at the hospital. A pressure washing machine was purchased to improve the clinic's disinfecting protocols.
Cholera is an easily treated disease, but can be fatal if treatment is not started within three or four hours of becoming symptomatic.
Every area of Haiti is impacted by the epidemic and many Salvation Army corps (churches) and schools are reporting infections in their communities. The Couyot community is of particular concern because access to medical assistance is a five-to-seven hour walk and patients could die before reaching treatment. A supply of oral rehydration packets and bleach has been sent to Couyot.
The Salvation Army response to the cholera outbreak has been made possible through a donor from the Bahamas along with a grant from The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Report by Major Ron Busroe
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