Long-term Health Solutions a Priority in Haiti

Cholera Treatment
We need a more responsible strategy – beyond just showing up, implementing programs and leaving

As earthquake recovery efforts show continued progress throughout the capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, American Red Cross activities in the Northern region of Haiti are showcasing new strides toward a broad approach to comprehensive health outreach.

The American Red Cross was helping to establish long-term health and community improvements here before a massive earthquake rocked Haiti on January 12, 2010. Now, working with the Haitian Red Cross, the American Red Cross is working to evaluate and build community capacity to respond to threats like the 2010 cholera outbreak.

“We need a more responsible strategy – beyond just showing up, implementing programs and leaving,” said Borry Jatta, technical advisor for health programs for the American Red Cross in Haiti. “We need to ensure that local communities are able to continue our work on their own, and we need to determine what are the skills and competencies the community needs to do so.”

Jatta will spend the next week assessing program activity in Cap-Haitien, a northern coastal city where the American Red Cross is targeting its expanded cholera outreach.

“We’re working with the Haitian Red Cross to train these communities to respond right away and know how to minimize risk,” Jatta said. “They are now running the cholera oral rehydration points, for example, so if someone gets sick within the community, that would be the first point of response.”

Additionally, more than 50,000 Haitians have already benefitted from the country’s first cholera vaccination campaign, implemented by Partners in Health, with support from the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross has dedicated more than $17 million to fight cholera in Haiti, including funding for vaccination, treatment centers, and prevention education, and more than $32 million to other health programs, including hospital and clinic support.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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