Obstacles hindering cholera response

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 CBC News

On the cholera front, the WHO said Tuesday the number of reported cases of cholera in Haiti has risen to just over 72,000, including 1,648 deaths.

Fewer deaths are now being recorded than earlier in the epidemic, which erupted in late October. The mortality rate now stands at 2.3 per cent, Fadela Chaib, spokesperson for the UN health agency, told reporters in Geneva.

There are now 40 cholera treatment centres and 61 cholera treatments units — small sites established in hospitals and health centres — in the country.

Ten more centres and 39 cholera treatments units are required, as well as 350 more doctors, 2,000 nurses, 2,200 support staff and 30,000 community health workers, Chaib said. The community health workers would mostly work in rural villages, where needs are greatest, she said.

Meanwhile, a survey by Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population of 37 aid groups has identified key challenges hindering the cholera response. These include insufficient removal of dead bodies and disposal of medical waste; a shortage of sites where to set up health centres; and a lack of trained personnel.

About $32.9 million US of the $164 million US humanitarian agencies are seeking for the cholera emergency has been received to date.


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