“I visited several cholera treatment centers in the hardest hit neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince and saw heartbreaking scenes; malnourished children, it is difficult to put a drop of water in their hands or feet; The adults were clearly very sick.
What immediately caught my eye was the strong smell of chlorine sanitizer, which is used to disinfect the surroundings, clearly an indication that the facility is well run by medical professionals. know how to prevent and treat disease. I see staff constantly scrubbing floors and surfaces to make sure cholera can’t spread any further.
I am extremely impressed and moved by the dedication and dedication of the medical staff. I have met so many inspiring people who have demonstrated this professionalism, and who have also shown great humanity and empathy for the patients being treated. Many people have told me that Haitians are getting through this difficult time together.
The number of cases increased sharply
Up until a few days ago, the increase in cholera cases was dwindling but now we are seeing a worrying increase, so the situation is getting tougher.
It is important to remember that although cholera can be deadly, it is preventable and treatable. Speed is of the essence, to prevent outbreaks and save lives. I believe that the public health response of Haitian authorities, local and international NGOs, with the support of the UN, is immediate and decisive, despite the situation. shortages of clean water and fuel needed to power health facilities and make work accessible to employees.
Cholera treatment centers were quickly established to care for the sick. Haitians have experienced cholera before, so there are invaluable tips and experiences if we want to prevent the outbreak from getting out of hand.
The inability to move people around, especially in the capital Port-au-Prince, due to the pervasive security situation and fuel shortages, could also be part of the containment of the contagion, though This insecurity has also complicated cholera responses. .
Since the outbreak of the disease, the UN in Haiti, together with national and international partners, has been working together with the Ministry of Health. Public health messages from the Ministry of Health, on radio and text messages supported by the UN, have emphasized the importance of preventive measures such as hand washing and disinfection.
The United Nations Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) supported our partners to open 13 cholera treatment centers. Oral rehydration points are also being established, especially in hard-to-reach communities, to treat milder cases and transfer others to inpatient facilities, and to assist with training. 300 community health workers. These workers are important, as so many communities are isolated due to armed gang violence.
UNICEF and the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) is supporting the Haitian government and partner organizations with chlorine, water purifiers, hygiene kits and medical supplies such as oral rehydration salts. UNICEF, through its partners, is also rolling out mobile health clinics in Cité Soleil, the hardest-hit area of the capital.
The humanitarian situation in Haiti is desperate for many and cholera is only a pressing challenge. The increased hunger that so many Haitians face is another major concern that needs to be addressed. The World Food Program has continued to distribute food inside the Cité Soleil, reaching more than 5500 vulnerable people since mid-October.
Coordinator and debugger
As the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, my role is to assist the UN in responding in a way that maximizes our impact and ensures all the knowledge and expertise of we effectively support the cholera prevention and treatment strategy of the Ministry of Health.
This means making connections, whether here in Haiti with national entities or with different UN regions, so that our aggregated effort is greater than the sum of its parts. .
In fact, I was impressed not only by the rapid mobilization of agencies and colleagues on the ground, but also by the concern and action of the top leaders across the United Nations.
A do-it-yourself attitude is essential; When there is a blockage, for example a lack of fuel for the treatment centers, I will be called to help fix the problem.
Ultimately, our common goal is to work towards a cholera-free Haiti, and since the most recent outbreak, I have witnessed first-hand the commitment of the United Nations to the Haitian people.
Since its founding, the United Nations and Haiti have enjoyed a strong relationship. Now is the time once again for the United Nations and the people of Haiti to come together to address this crisis so that Haiti and its people emerge stronger and more united as the country continues on its path towards stability, equality and prosperity.
- UN Resident Coordinator
- The UN Resident Coordinator, sometimes referred to as the RC, is the highest level representative of the UN development system at the national level.
- In this occasional series, UN News invites RCs to blog on issues important to the United Nations and the countries in which they serve.
- Learn more about ‘s work UN in Haiti.