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Cholera Outbreak in Central Haiti

October 22, 2010

As many of you may have seen in the headline news today, Haiti is suffering from a cholera outbreak near St. Marc, which has already killed more than 100 people in the Artibonite and lower Central Plateau region (not far from Hinche).

After speaking with some friends in Hinche last night, it appears that this epidemic has yet to impact the upper Central Plateau. Experts believe the cause of the cholera is linked to heavy rain which may have washed this bacteria into the Artibonite river, thereby contaminating drinking water for several towns and villages along that water source. (See map/diagram at bottom of page)

According to Haiti’s daily online newsapaper- www.lenouvelliste.com, the municipal hospital at St. Marc (pictured below) was overflowing with sick and dying on Thursday afternoon.

Cholera patients at St. Nicolas Hospital in St. Marc, Haiti

At this time of tragedy, our hearts and prayers go out to those Haitians who have been and continue to be impacted by this disaster. 

Cholera patients at St. Nicolas Hospital in St. Marc, Haiti - photos courtesy of Le Nouvelliste - http://www.lenouvelliste.com

One peice of good news lies in the fact that cholera can only be transmitted if an individual drinks from the contaminated water source or comes into close contact with feces from an infected patient. Thanks to the ongoing medical response of groups like Partners in Health, it seems like the cholera outbreak may be addressed in the coming days.

This diagram, taken from Haiti's le Nouvelliste newspaper, shows a map of Haiti with a highlight of the Artibonite river- believed to be the source of this cholera outbreak.

Haitian health officials claim that the greatest need at this time is medical personnell and supplies for hospitals which are overflowing, as depicted in the pictures above. This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the dire need for more skilled healthcare professionals in Haiti. Healthcare is one aspect of the Hinche Scholars project, as several of the scholarship students are interested in pursuing careers in public health and medicine. Through your continued support we can help provide the adequate training for these young men and women so that when the next cholera epidemic hits, perhaps Haiti will have a few more skilled healthcare worker behind the helm. Or even better, a focus on preventive medicine and sustainable agriculture in which problems like toxic run-off can be curbed.

Thank you for your support and be sure to keep Haiti in your prayers. Pelase also check back later this week for a news update from the 2 Barber-Scotia professors who will be arriving in Hinche on Sunday to begin a month long ESL program.

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