It has been some time since ICC reported on the cholera epidemic that began in Haiti in 2010. Until this point, there had never been a reported case of Cholera in Haiti. The strain, thought to have come from the United Nations camp 30 minutes from Port au Prince, is still infecting those utilizing the water source. Since the time of the outbreak, it is thought to have affected 700,000 people. According to atrusted news source, the disease has spread to areas nearly two hours downstream of the original source.
Cholera is an infection that is primarily transmitted through a water source. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea which can lead to severe dehydration. If not treated, this disease can lead to death.
The water source that was initially contaminated was a life source for the towns and villages that it runs through. Individuals used the water for drinking, bathing and washing clothes. When the epidemic started, it was unknown to the villagers what was causing those around them to die. This is the case because no one had ever experienced cholera, nor did they have access to life saving care in the rural areas. While the source is not known, the disease continues to spread.
ICC works towards the elimination of waterborne disease by conducting hygiene education, where ICC health professionals teach individuals the importance of hand hygiene and safe food practices. This program also offers instruction on how to prepare oral rehydration solution to those caring for current cholera patients. While Grace Children’s Hospital isn’t a specified cholera treatment center, it is prepared to treat patients that come to the hospital with this illness.
While the cholera epidemic in Haiti seems to have faded from the nightly news, it is important to remember that over 700,000 have been impacted by this disease. Please consider a gift to support hygiene education and the work of International Child Care.