Hurricane Matthew served another blow to the disaster-worn people of Haiti last fall. More shelters were ripped apart, roads washed out, buildings destroyed and lifesaving medical care became even more challenging to access. People were weary and fears of another cholera outbreak were a major concern for those trying to survive in the hurricane-torn southwest region of Haiti.
Project HOPE was on the ground in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, providing medical volunteers and essential medicines and supplies to help with immediate needs. But with your support, HOPE has stayed on to support damaged health systems and also help support infrastructure that will benefit the health of Haitians for years to come.
One of those projects is a new cholera treatment center, being completed next month at the St. Therese Regional Hospital in Miragoâne, the capital city of the Department of Nippes in southwest Haiti.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can sometimes kill within hours if left untreated, and locating a cholera treatment center at the St. Therese Hospital in Miragoâne is a lifesaving measure.
Before this center was built, people who lived in the Nippes Department had to travel long distances, up to three and four hours to get care for complicated cholera cases. Because of the aggressive nature of the illness, three or four hours can mean a matter of life or death. The new cholera treatment center at St.Therese Hospital now makes care accessible immediately for those near Miragoâne, and even those living in the most remote areas can get care within an hour or two.
In addition to its central location, the region also has medical professionals who are already trained in advanced cholera treatment. Project HOPE volunteers actually worked at the St. Therese Hospital following the Hurricane in October and knew that the staff at the St. Therese Hospital had the skills they needed to care for cholera patients and would be able to use the new facility immediately.
The new 20-bed cholera treatment center will be completed and open to care for patients soon.
The center was built with the help of a Project HOPE partner, Mazzetti, which has experience working in Haiti and provided volunteer engineers to oversee the design and construction and the center was actually built by a local Haitian construction company. The cholera treatment center has brought together the best practices from similar facilities in Haiti and other cholera treatment centers around the world. It uses renewable energy and a renewable energy distribution system. The center will strengthen the health system by allowing doctors to treat a normal case load of cholera and other diarrheal diseases throughout the year, and support a large response in the event of a cholera outbreak in the region.
People in the community are relieved that there is now a cholera treatment center that is more centrally located, knowing if they are ever infected with this deadly disease, help is near and chances of survival increased. Thank you to all of you who supported Project HOPE’s Hurricane Matthew relief projects, including the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, 3M, Pfizer, Merck, CSRA, UnitedHealth Foundation and their employees, and the many individuals who donated. This support helped to ensure construction of this much needed cholera treatment center!
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