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01.19.2023

Project HOPE Launches Cholera Response in Haiti

Project HOPE is responding to the deadly spread of cholera in Haiti with medical surge staff, medicines, medical supplies, sanitation interventions, community health workers, and more.

Project HOPE is scaling up our response to the spread of cholera across Haiti, which began in September 2022 and has infected as many as 23,000 people or more. Our team on the ground has been visiting Cholera Treatment Centers (CTCs) and convening with local partners to evaluate the need and capabilities of key health facilities as we begin implementing support in Sud, Nippes, and Grand’Anse. 

Since the outbreak began in September, the Haitian Ministry of Health has reported a total of 23,249 suspected cholera cases, with 1,589 confirmed via lab tests, and 464 official deaths. It is believed that these numbers are severely underreported, as insecurity continues to limit quality testing and tracking. 

Cholera has reemerged in a difficult time for Haiti, compounding the already-existing issues that pose a threat to public health. The spread of suspected cholera cases has increased by 3% just since the start of January, and cases have now been confirmed in nine out of 10 departments. 

As part of our cholera response, Project HOPE is implementing a multisectoral program to support eight health facilities and respective catchment areas in Nippes, Sud, and Grand’Anse Departments. The program focuses on the prevention and treatment of cholera through the provision of medical surge staff; medicines and medical supplies; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions; and an integrated community health worker response.  

Project HOPE is complementing health and WASH sector activities with Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services at the health facility and community levels, including a robust component on preventing and responding to gender-based violence. 

“Given the current crisis in-country, the health system is unable to support an adequate response to the cholera outbreak—from community-based health and hygiene promotion, to disease surveillance, to human resource support, to the provision of critical pharmaceuticals and supplies to ensure Cholera Treatment Centers are equipped to manage suspected and confirmed cholera cases,” said Adib Fletcher, Project HOPE’s Senior Director of the LAC Region and Humanitarian Response, who is on the ground in Haiti. “Project HOPE’s response will support the health system in Grand Sud to ensure targeted CTCs have the appropriate properly trained staff to manage cholera cases. We’re also helping improve water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure and supplies to ensure that infection prevention and control protocols can be adhered to. Other support will include pharmaceuticals and medical supplies necessary to provide beneficiaries with free, quality care. This will be coupled with integrated community-based health, WASH, and protection interventions to ensure comprehensive support.”

map of Haiti
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Project HOPE’s response will focus on medical surge staff; medicines and medical supplies; water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions; and an integrated community health worker response. We are complementing these activities with mental health and psychosocial support services, including gender-based violence prevention.

Project HOPE’s team is currently in Les Cayes, working with partners in both Les Cayes and Jeremie. Detailed assessments of eight cholera treatment facilities will be carried out over the next several weeks to further define and tailor specific health, WASH, and mental health activities. The provision of cholera-related medicines, medical supplies, water and sanitation materials, and personal protective equipment will be critical to addressing the pressing needs of this complex humanitarian situation. 

“There continue to be many needs in the health sector,” Fletcher said. “One of the biggest challenges when addressing the cholera outbreak is also understanding that the current crisis has also heavily impacted the Ministry of Health’s ability to support and sustain primary health care services in the areas in which we work. The need for medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and human resource support remains critical for primary health care as well.”

Project HOPE has worked to improve public health in Haiti since the 1980s, including programs in maternal and child health and emergency responses to the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew. After the 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck on August 14, 2021, Project HOPE, with support from both the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance and other partners, mobilized emergency relief and helped the country’s health system recover for the long term.

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