Salvation Army responds to cholera outbreak in Haiti
The Salvation Army in Haiti is working to protect people from the cholera epidemic that began in mid-October. Since then, over 100,000 people have been infected, with the number dead approaching 3,500.
In Fond-des-Negres, The Salvation Army’s Bethel Clinic operates a cholera treatment center with 17 beds, which quickly filled. An additional site is being organized with the assistance of the Haitian government. The clinic reports eight cholera-related deaths.
At other locations, the Army’s response focuses on prevention, with the distribution of soap, disinfectants, oral rehydration packets and antibiotics in Salvation Army community centers. In the Port-au-Prince area, this included the primary health clinic, the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp next to The Salvation Army compound and the College Verena primary and secondary schools. In other areas, response reaches 60 Salvation Army centers, including corps and schools.
Since the Port-au-Prince clinic operates in a temporary facility with limited space, it could not establish a treatment center, but the Organization of International Ministry operates one in the IDP camp, where 13,000 people still live. The Salvation Army works with the camp committee to provide adequate supplies for the center. Drinkable water and clean latrines have been provided at the camp in partnership with Concern Worldwide and Viva Rio.
Several students at The Salvation Army’s Rossignol School are reported to have died in the outbreak. Since the infection is mainly spread through contaminated water, a treatment plant has been sent to Rossignol. The need for water treatment plants in all 49 Salvation Army-run schools in Haiti is being assessed.
Cholera is easily treated, but can be fatal if treatment is not started within three or four hours of symptoms appearing.
The epidemic is impacting every area of Haiti. Of particular concern is the Couyot community, because medical assistance is a five-to-seven hour walk. A supply of oral rehydration packets and bleach has been sent to Couyot.
The Salvation Army’s Canada and Bermuda Territory and a donor from the Bahamas have provided financial support to the prevention effort.
Donate to the “Haiti Appeal” at salvationarmy.org.
From reports by Majors Ron and Carol Busroe