Port-au-Prince – Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams in Haiti are supporting the cholera vaccination campaign launched by the national health authorities. This campaign is the latest effort in response to the resurgence of the disease, which has affected more than 15,000 people and caused more than 300 deaths in the country since the end of September.
On 12 December, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) received 1.17 million doses of cholera vaccine from the International Coordinating Group, a mechanism to manage and coordinate the provision of emergency vaccine supplies to countries during outbreaks.
“We support the vaccination campaign in Cité Soleil, one of the most cholera-affected areas of Port-au-Prince”, says William Etienne, MSF emergency coordinator. “Our teams are helping with the transportation of the vaccine doses and other items, facilitating the movement of the MSPP vaccination teams, distributing soap and other hygiene items, and taking care of waste management.”
Though the pace of contamination has apparently slowed down recently, vaccination remains a very useful tool in a fragile health context such as this.William Etienne, MSF emergency coordinator
The ongoing cholera resurgence comes at a time when people are already facing enormous difficulties in accessing healthcare. Fuel is becoming progressively available after weeks of extreme scarcity, due to the blockage of the main oil terminal. But insecurity and violence, combined with unprecedented economic and social crises, have made access to basic services extremely complicated.
“Though the pace of contamination has apparently slowed down recently, vaccination remains a very useful tool in a fragile health context such as this,” says Etienne. “Haiti has recently been hit by a major cholera epidemic.”
MSF teams have been part of the cholera emergency response since the first few patients were identified. We quickly opened several cholera treatment centres in Port-au-Prince and in Artibonite province, working to provide access to clean water and run health promotion activities.