|PAHO/WHO supports Technical Cooperation Mission with the Haitian Leprosy Coordination|
During the past three years, Haiti suffered from food crisis and various natural disasters that include more than 5 hurricanes, floods, and an earthquake that devastated most of the Ouest Departement, including the Capital City, Port-au-Prince. The impact by the earthquake on response capacity was severe, as the already fragile Haitian government lost 33% of its personnel and 24 of the 25 official buildings.
Due to the need of reestablishing the activities of the Haitian National Leprosy Programme after the earthquake, the Regional Consultant for the Leprosy Programme of the Americas and the Caribbean visited Port-au-Prince in a technical cooperation mission from 3-6 of May.
The programme is centralized in only two health centers run by Non-Governmental Organizations, both located in the Ouest Departement, the Fame Pereo Institute and the Cardinal Lèger Hospital.
Although the number of new leprosy cases registered in the country is low (26 cases in 2010), calls the attention the elevated proportion of new multibacillary cases among them.
These are patients considered to shed large quantities of the causal agent of the disease, Mycobacterium leprae, and are thus, able to transmit the disease. In addition, during the past five years an increasing number of children under 15 years of age has been diagnosed with leprosy. This situation indicates an active transmission of the disease.
Out of the 2.1 million individuals initially displaced after the earthquake, almost 50% remain living in camps. As the transmission of leprosy is favoured by close continuous contact and there is a large amount of people living under crowded conditions, immediate actions were recommended to be taken to promote early diagnosis and surveillance, among other things.
No. 295 Avenue John Brown, Port-au-Prince, Haiti,