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Civil unrest brings spike in cholera cases in Haiti?s capital, Port-au-Prince

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As 2011 begins, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)continues to bolster its response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti.

In the midst of uncertainty over the impending recount of votes from the recent Haitian presidential elections, MSF will make every effort to continue its lifesaving work. Recent demonstrations and sporadic violence coincided with a spike in cholera cases in the capital, Port-au-Prince, as people were unable to access treatment.

Currently, MSF is operating or supporting almost 50 cholera treatment centers and units across the country. It is also providing supplies for oral rehydration points in areas where the epidemic has yet to take hold in significant numbers, in remote regions or villages that are underserved by health posts.

So far, 84,500 people suffering from cholera have been treated in MSF or MSF-supported structures. That represents 57 percent of all nationwide cases, based on the latest figures provided by Haiti’s ministry of health: 147,787 patients and a death toll of more than 3,330 since the outbreak began in late October.

MSF also continues to provide essential medical services at its seven free-of-charge secondary-level care hospitals and at two government hospitals it supports in Port-au-Prince. MSF has been providing high-risk obstetric services, emergency care, trauma care, and burn treatment. Outside the capital, MSF runs a hospital in Léogâne and supports another public hospital in Jacmel.

MSF has roughly 7,900 Haitian and 430 international staff maintaining these existing programs and responding to the cholera emergency.