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Health Cluster: Distribution of Supplies Remains a Complex Logistic Operation in Haiti

The Health Cluster in Haiti—co-chaired by PAHO/WHO and the MSPP—reports that there are adequate supplies of medicines for the treatment of estimated cholera cases in the near future, and more supplies continue to arrive. The distribution of these supplies in the departments, though, remains a complex logistic operation, sometimes made worse by an unstable security situation.

Since the evolution of an epidemic cannot be defined with precision, the Haitian government is using for planning purposes an estimate of 400,000 cholera cases over the first 12 months of the epidemic, with half of those cases in the first 3 months. Past experience has shown that an epidemic does not follow a uniform pattern, but consists of multiple outbreaks in different areas that may peak in a few weeks in some places, a few months in others.

As of December 29 2010, the Ministry of Health of Haiti (Ministère de la Sante Publique et de la Population, MSPP) had reported 148,787 cumulative cholera cases, with 3,333 deaths as of December 26. Of the total cholera cases, 83,166 patients have been hospitalized. The overall case fatality rate was 2.2%. There are concerns that in some rural areas the case fatality rate is still very high.

The Health Cluster is urging all partners to build a network of community health workers around the treatment centers—with the goal of teaching every family how to recognize, prevent and treat cholera—and to provide every community with a cholera rehydration post. It is the view of the Cluster that every sector of society must be engaged in the response.


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