The Government of Haiti this week honored the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization’s (PAHO/WHO’s) office in Port-au-Prince with Haiti’s national “Honor and Merit” award, in recognition of the organization’s contributions to the fight against cholera and its efforts to improve public health. The award was signed by President René Preval on April 19, 2011.
The award recognizes the critical support provided by PAHO/WHO to Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population during the cholera epidemic, which began in October 2010 and has produced more than 270,000 cases and over 4,700 deaths (as of early April 2011).
PAHO/WHO has supported Haiti’s health authorities by mobilizing international experts in epidemiology, laboratories, case management, water and sanitation, and logistics, among others. PAHO/WHO has also assisted the ministry with planning and organization of cholera treatment centers, training and technical guides for health personnel, implementation of preventive measures, and health education for individuals, families, communities and hospitals.
The Program of Essential Medicines and Supplies (PROMESS), which has been managed by PAHO/WHO in Haiti since 1992, has provided critical medicines and supplies, including intravenous fluids, antibiotics and oral rehydration salts, throughout the epidemic.
Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Natural and man-made disasters can increase the risk for spread of the disease through conditions including crowding, contaminated water sources, improper waste disposal, and food contamination during or after preparation.
For more information on the cholera outbreak and PAHO/WHO’s work in Haiti, visit these links:
Press conferences, Deputy Director Jon Andrus on cholera outbreak in Haiti:
PAHO Video News
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