AT A GLANCE Patient Consultations
Healthcare providers trained
Latrines built / Showers built
Children under 5 Screened for Malnutrition
Pregnant women screened for malnutrition
Cholera treatment sites established
Patients treated in cholera treatment centers
Haitians educated on cholera prevention
Hygiene and sanitation materials distributed to fight cholera
Individuals identified and treated for mental illness
340,396 1,505 445 /151 149,660 6,002 37 39,734 Over 2 million 765,292 4,816
The people of Haiti will never forget the date January 12, 2010, when a massive earthquake brought devastation to their country. Two years have now passed since large parts of the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding towns and cities were reduced to rubble and over 230,000 Haitians lost their lives. With the help of International Medical Corps, other international relief agencies and the efforts of the Haitian people, many thousands of lives have been saved, livelihoods restored and the devastated infrastructure of Haitiâ€™s health system slowly rebuilt. Yet Haiti remains in desperate need of our support. Over 500,000 people still have no permanent shelter, living in camps with limited access to clean water. The cholera outbreak that began in October 2010 continues to claim lives, particularly of those most vulnerable: children under five, pregnant women, and the elderly. The psychological impact of the disaster on survivors is only now becoming clear.
Health Care Relief that Builds Self-Reliance
International Medical Corps was on the ground delivering lifesaving medical care within 22 hours of the January 2010 earthquake. At the peak of the emergency response, 1,000 patients a day were seen by our volunteer doctors, nurses and trained Haitian counterparts. In 2011 alone, International Medical Corps medical staff treated over 33,000 patients across Haiti.
CHOLERA - a waterborne and easily treated disease - has now killed about 7,000 people in Haiti. More than half a million have been infected, according to Haitian Government figures. International Medical Corps is one of the main providers of cholera treatment and management in Haiti, bringing lifesaving and life-changing help to communities traumatized by this disease. Within eight weeks of taking over operation of the two largest Cholera Treatment Centers in the South Department of Haiti, fatality rates among cholera sufferers at the clinic fell from 14% to 0.5%. A focus on water and sanitation projects has laid the foundation necessary for Haiti to eradicate cholera in the long term, through building latrines, hand washing stations, and waste disposal systems across urban and rural locations. We have also educated more than 2 million Haitians on cholera prevention.
CHOLERA OUTBREAK CASE STUDY In October 2011, International Medical Corps staff reacted to reports of a new spike in cholera cases in the remote community of Rhe, in southern Haiti. The 18,000 residents there are isolated by a river that regularly cuts them off from medical care. An International Medical Corps cholera response team crossed the river, and hiked two kilometers (1.24 miles ) with supplies in hand to treat the outbreak. In Rhe, the team found community leaders had already established a makeshift cholera treatment center, but they were desperately undersupplied and lacked key expertise. After bringing the immediate outbreak under control and training community representatives, International Medical Corps arranged to continue bringing supplies to the river, where residents of Rhe can collect and deliver them to the facility. This approach to dealing with immediate needs, training local health care workers to take on responsibility for long-term care and establishing sustainable solutions to keep health systems operating is typical of International Medical Corpsâ€™ work in Haiti. 5
Training & Building Local Capacity
As we reach the second anniversary of the earthquake and the newly elected government of Haiti grows in authority and capacity, it is important to consider how Haiti will be able to stand on its own feet in the years ahead. At every step of the response, International Medical Corps has been training local staff and working to build sustainable local capacity. As well as supporting Haitian healthcare professionals, International Medical Corps trains Community Health Volunteers and community and religious leaders, and uses innovative outreach strategies, such as radio and community theater, to ensure health and sanitation messages reach deep into the communities where we work.
CASE STUDY Dr. Hervé, a doctor working at the Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat d’Haiti (HUEH) in Port-au-Prince saved the life of one of his patients using a technique he had just learned in the International Medical Corps Emergency Course for Doctors.
26-year-old Ms. Banathe is Chief Nurse at Les Cayes Cholera Treatment Center
His patient was very sick, went into shock, and would have otherwise died. However, Dr. Hervé, realizing the dire situation from only his first week of training in the four-week emergency course, rapidly identified that fluid around his patient’s heart was about to kill him.
“I started working with International Medical Corps at Les Cayes Cholera Treatment Center in December 2010. At that time we were receiving 80-100 patients per day. It was horrible. The death rate was more than 10%. Today we receive about 15 patients per day, and have zero deaths. I am very thankful to International Medical Corps for the training that allows me to help my community.”
Using a long, spinal needle that was available in the hospital, Dr. Hervé inserted it into his patient’s chest, just below the ribcage – a technique known as pericardiocentesis. He was then able to extract close to a cup of fluid from around the heart, which relieved the pressure on it and allowed it to regain function. The patient instantly improved and felt dramatically better, going from severe extremis to breathing comfortably and requesting food to eat for the first time in days.
“Without the International Medical Corps course I would not have known what to do; I cannot thank them enough.” Dr. Hervé
Haiti was a country facing serious challenges even before the 2010 earthquake, with high maternal mortality rates, and almost 19% of children under five suffering from malnutrition. Throughout our response, International Medical Corps has focused on protecting the most vulnerable individuals in Haiti, screening children and mothers for malnutrition, and providing support and counseling to women living in displacement camps on protection from violence, nutrition and child health.
Protecting the Most Vulnerable Recognizing early on the psychological consequences that the earthquake would have, International Medical Corps integrated mental health clinics into eight busy primary health care centers serving displaced populations, as well as the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince. By training local psychosocial workers, who in turn recruited up to 12 community volunteers each, we were able to reach deep into affected communities to promote good mental health, encourage appropriate mourning processes, identify people suffering from severe mental illness and support them in seeking treatment.
33-year-old Marie with her 7-month-old daughter and 75-year-old mother
â€œInternational Medical Corps has helped us a lot. Every day I see International Medical Corps people coming to our homes to teach us about good hygiene, how to treat drinking water, and hand-washing using soap.â€? 7
“Stagnant water increases the risk for waterborne disease, malaria, and dengue. Keep ditches clear of trash and debris” Just one of the dozens of health messages that International Medical Corps sent out during Haiti’s hurricane season through specially commissioned radio broadcasts.
Preparing for the Future International Medical Corpsâ€™ commitment to rebuilding Haitiâ€™s shattered health system includes ensuring that the country is prepared for future disasters and emergencies. While supporting local Haitian authorities as they develop regional disaster response plans, International Medical Corps also trained over 300 doctors and nurses in emergency care and disaster response. Our messages on what to do in case of a disaster - including hurricanes and floods - were disseminated through schools, churches, and community leaders, allowing them to reach thousands of people.
Partnerships International Medical Corps has worked closely with the Ministry of Public Health and Population to coordinate all activities to align with the new national health strategies, as well as with networks of Haitian medical professionals such as the Haitian Medical Association. On the ground, International Medical Corps teams work closely with national and local government officials, local civil society organizations, UN Clusters, and international organizations and community members to identify and respond to priority needs.
What Does the Future Hold for Haiti? The Haitian Government is making progress and there is growing confidence about its future, but it is not yet in a position to take responsibility for managing the cholera response or to provide many basic health services for the Haitian people. International Medical Corps is now the only major cholera treatment service provider in the South Department of Haiti. We are pushing our current resources to the furthest limit in order to save as many lives as possible, stretching our programs into communities where access is difficult. The link between access to cholera treatment and morbidity is very direct and any reduction in cholera response capacity threatens the progress that has been made in Haiti to bring the disease under control.
Thank you to the thousands of INDIVIDUALS AND institutions THAT donated money and resources to support relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.
Much has been achieved in the two years since January 12, 2010; many thousands of additional lives and livelihoods would have been lost without the efforts of International Medical Corps and our partners. The basis of a sustainable health system is slowly emerging, as a consequence of investments in training and local capacity strengthening. Yet the road ahead for Haiti to reach selfreliance remains long and uncertain. It will take the efforts and
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diligence of all those around the world who care about Haiti and its people to secure that future together.