Cholera Notes: Haiti

This past week  marked the 1 year anniversary of the massive earthquake in Haiti. Since that time, Cholera has taken hold in the country as they work to restore and rebuild from the tragedy. Per the Ministry of Health (via the UN), 171,304 cases have been reported with 3651 deaths from the disease. The epidemic is stabilizing in some areas but rising in the Southern areas. The key to reducing the devastation from this disease is getting clean sources of water to citizens while treating those affected by the disease to decrease the numbers of carriers who can potentially infect others. This obviously by the scope of the disease spread, time frame and lacking infrastructure has beenb difficult looking at the numbers of those affected by this disease. There is hope in my opinion for this epidemic to 1. Slow down and 2. For some level of relief to come to the island. But this change will sadly be slow to come.

As a global community, we are not very far from epidemic disease falling on our door steps. Although cholera was eliminated from the United States in the 19th century, there are other diseases that could potentially have an effect on this country. H1N1 and it’s appearance gave us that creepy feeling that we may be reliving Spanish Flu all over again. There were those that H1N1 took from us, but we shifted our limited resources into high gear and we braced and weathered the storm. Could the next round of H1N1 or H what N what be that devastating epidemic which could greatly impact our society?  It is true that our own public health infrastructure is not the best, there are areas which badly need support and repair. But we have a basic infrastructure, our partners such as Haiti and Africa need plans from all the world’s major players to ensure that some level of public health planning. preparedness and response is in place. We hate to plan for the worse, but when it happens every society at some level wants to be ready. Before the earthquake, basic health needs were the major concern in Haiti. Now just mere survival in the face of disease is the major focus and it really shouldn’t be that way.


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